Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Challenge of Arctic Shipping

Challenge of Arctic Shipping: Science, Environmental Assessment, and Human Values

David L. VanderZwaag
Cynthia Lamson
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Challenge of Arctic Shipping
    Book Description:

    The Challenge of Arctic Shipping presents a collection of candid essays on the future of Arctic waters. A number of distinguished contributors address critical issues in Arctic development examining the implications for both policy-making in the North and the impact of that policy on native people. The intricacies of decision-making in an atmosphere of uncertainty are explored in detail, as is the impact of access to information, influence, and power. The Challenge of Arctic Shipping also examines activities and events associated with commercial proposals to develop and transport hydrocarbons through environmentally sensitive waters. The editors observe that the resulting political maneuvering is evidence that new approaches to this and other problems of the North are needed.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6202-8
    Subjects: Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Preface
    (pp. vii-viii)
    David VanderZwaag and Cynthia Lamson
  2. Introduction
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Gordon Beanlands

    The explosion of interest in the environmental implications of arctic shipping can be traced to the convergence of a number of seemingly unrelated developments. First, the energy crisis of the early 1970s led to development of Canadian policies that promoted national self-sufficiency in the production of oil and gas. These, in turn, increased interest in frontier exploration, primarily in offshore and arctic regions, which resulted in the discovery of commercially viable reserves in the early 1980s. In most cases, shipment of crude oil or liquefied natural gas by ocean-going tanker was considered a major transportation option in the development of...


    • CHAPTER ONE In Pursuit of Knowledge: Arctic Shipping and Marine Science
      (pp. 3-19)
      Cynthia Lamson

      Historians of science, like jigsaw puzzle-makers, face two tasks. First, there is the need to examine the structure and organization of scientific enterprise. Puzzle-makers begin by assembling the straight-edged pieces to define the puzzle’s frame or borders. The completed puzzle, a reconstructed picture, is achieved by examining contextual relationships between individual pieces and fitting together the pieces with complementary shapes and colours. Likewise, historians of science can look for “internal” links among ideas, personalities, and institutions to trace the development of an individual discipline or school of thought. They can also probe contextual or “external” factors influencing scientific achievement, recognizing...

    • CHAPTER TWO The Physical Environment
      (pp. 20-58)
      Robert A. Lake

      Historically, arctic marine shipping was confined to the resupply of arctic communities during the short summer shipping season. Resupply activities for the eastern Arctic were co-ordinated through Montreal, Quebec City, and Halifax; the Mackenzie River system was the major artery for supplying settlements in the western Arctic. Ship travel through the Northwest Passage was exceptional. With the arrival of hydrocarbon and mineral exploration, summer marine activities increased in the Beaufort Sea and around Melville Island, Strathcona Sound, and Little Cornwallis Island. This led to the development of new shipping routes and increased usage of the marine route around Alaska into...

    • CHAPTER THREE Marine Mammals and Ice-Breakers
      (pp. 59-85)
      Brian D. Smiley

      After this brief introductory look at marine mammals in the Arctic, arctic shipping, and popular attitudes to marine mammals, this chapter examines in detail contact between mammals and ships, demonstration projects and their role, research and its problems, and the future of both research and practice.

      A chapter about marine mammals is essential in this book about ice-breaking transportation in Canada’s Arctic. If there were no or few seals, whales, and polar bears in the Northwest Passage and Beaufort Sea, there would probably have been little environmental concern about Petro-Canada’s ice-breaking Arctic Pilot Project (APP) or Dome Petroleum’s oil-tanker proposal....

    • CHAPTER FOUR Seabirds and Environmental Assessment
      (pp. 86-100)
      Richard G. B. Brown

      The Canadian Department of the Environment has been in existence since 1971. One of its many functions has been to assess potential effects of proposed industrial development on the Canadian environment. In 1973 Environment Canada set up its Environmental Assessment Review Process (EARP), under the Federal Environmental Assessment Review Office (FEARO), to ensure that environmental impact is taken into account in the planning and implementation of federal projects. There are comparable environmental review processes for projects that fall under provincial or territorial jurisdiction.

      Twenty-five EARP panel reports were published up to July 1984 (FEARO 1984). Two deal with hydroelectric projects,...


    • CHAPTER FIVE Industry, Shipping Proposals, and Science
      (pp. 103-138)
      Robert L. Dryden

      “You can’t tell which way the train went by looking at the track” (anonymous). Nothing expresses better the confusion and frustration experienced by many, if not all, participants in arctic regulatory proceedings. Industry, in particular, can become extremely perplexed by the lack of benchmarks and/or standards with which to judge progress in the environmental and socio-economic review arena. Such frustration, however, is not confined to industry. It extends from the Inuk of Grise Fiord right through to the much-maligned bureaucrat of Ottawa. The regulatory review process for arctic matters resembles closely a carnival “pool of balls,” in which young children...

    • CHAPTER SIX Inuit Concerns and Environmental Assessment
      (pp. 139-153)
      Peter Jull

      In August 1985, a remarkable situation unfolded in the Canadian media. An American ice-breaker sailed from Thule in Greenland, through the Northwest Passage, to the Beaufort Sea. The ship was armed and rumoured to be engaged in military research. This voyage aroused Canadian fears about national sovereignty and jurisdiction in the Arctic, fears only enhanced by the evident inability of Canadian cabinet ministers and officials to explain the government's position.

      Inuit spoke out concerning the threat this voyage posed to the marine environment and the sea ice which are central to their food and other requirements. They said that they...

    • CHAPTER SEVEN Coming of Age: Territorial Review
      (pp. 154-166)
      John Donihee and Heather Myers

      The involvement of the government of Northwest Territories (GNWT) in assessing northern resource development projects has changed substantially over the past decade, reflecting general political development in the north. While the territorial government has no direct jurisdiction over marine shipping, its interest and involvement in the review of shipping projects stemmed from its responsibility to its people and for certain elements of the northern environment.

      The beginning of formal assessment hearings into environmental and social effects in the north could be traced to Mr. Justice Thomas Berger’s Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry, conducted throughout the Mackenzie Valley in the mid-1970s. At...

    • CHAPTER EIGHT The Federal EARP Experience
      (pp. 167-188)
      David W. I. Marshall

      Residents, bureaucrats, and industry look at the north in different ways. Peter Aglak of Pond Inlet observed: “If Lancaster Sound would be used as a shipping route all year round it is difficult to say what effects it will have on the sea mammals. If something should happen to the animals or they move it would be hard for the Inuit to live.” Martin Barnett, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (DIAND), commented on the Arctic Pilot Project (APP): “The project offers a rare opportunity to investigate a relatively pristine Arctic environment then disturb it in a controlled fashion...


    • CHAPTER NINE Hydrocarbon Transport and Risk Assessment
      (pp. 191-210)
      Ray Lemberg

      The analysis of risks to the environment or to human life or health is becoming increasingly common. These risks may be produced by various courses of action or may be likely to be produced in the future.

      Everybody performs risk analysis every day. Before crossing the street, a person hesitates until cars are judged to be at a safe distance. In this chapter, “risk analysis” refers to a formal process involving quantitative assessment, valuation, and management of risks.

      The work “risk” is often used as if everyone knows its meaning, but for the purpose of quantitative risk analysis the word...

    • CHAPTER TEN Science Policy and Ocean Management
      (pp. 211-218)
      Douglas M. Johnston

      This volume concentrates on recent ocean science and environmental assessment experience in the Canadian Arctic, rather than on arctic science or environmental assessment practice in general. The contributors have been asked to react to the prospect of increasing developmental intrusions in a sector of the natural (and human) environment that seems to require special protection. This chapter, however, reflects on science policy: how should Canadian science be asked to improve public (and possibly private) decision-making in design of transit management for northern waters?

      As Lamson indicates in chapter 1, there are two clearly distinct approaches to arctic science. The “idealist”...

    • CHAPTER ELEVEN On the Road to Kingdom Come
      (pp. 219-244)
      David L. VanderZwaag

      Harry Chapin, the late folksinger, perhaps captured the essence of human existence in “On the Road to Kingdom Come.” The song describes the human predicament of continually seeking and expecting perfection or absolute happiness but finding disillusionment and dissatisfaction instead. The leader, who hopes for great power to change the world, discovers that his freedom is shackled by traditional bureaucracies and an uninventive public. The general, who looks forward to a peaceful and enjoyable retirement, finds instead loss of physical activity and the disappearance of respect and power. The old man, who purchases cologne and candy in expectations of creating...