Canada domesticated the International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code) adopted by the International Maritime Organization through the enactment of the Arctic Shipping Safety and Pollution Prevention Regulations (ASSPPR) with effect on 1 January 2017. Canada is now considering designating low impact shipping corridors through Arctic waters. The infrastructure and services to support shipping are currently insufficient to cover the entirety of Canadian Arctic waters, even though shipping produces a range of environmental impacts and risks to indigenous peoples. Led by the Canadian Coast Guard, Transport Canada, and Canadian Hydrographic Service and in consultation with indigenous communities and stakeholders, the purpose of the corridors would be to set out a governance framework, minimize the impacts of shipping to designated areas, and enable focused infrastructure development and provision of essential services. This chapter explores governance issues of the corridors against a regulatory backdrop and legal status of Canadian Arctic waters.
In 2017 the International Maritime Organization (imo)’s Maritime Safety Committee included a scoping exercise on Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (mass) in its work agenda. The mass concept includes commercial vessels that may be fully or partially automated and includes crewless but remotely operated ships. The technologies that make this possible are on the horizon and expected to be developed and operationalized soon. Given that the appropriate crewing of vessels is a requirement in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, 1982, International Convention on Safety of Life at Sea, 1974 and other international maritime conventions, it is unclear at this time how these new technologies will be accommodated by the existing legal frameworks and the changes needed, as well as what is desirable from a social responsibility perspective. This presentation will explore the legal issues and discuss how existing rules could be adapted through interpretation or amendment to accommodate mass.
This chapter discusses the fundamental characteristics of the Canadian policy, institutional and legislative framework for the governance of Arctic shipping. Since 1970, the governance of Arctic shipping has evolved into a complex and fragmented system of policy and regulatory instruments servicing Canada’s interests as a major trading and coastal State. The institutional framework has become increasingly complex, with the Departments of Transport and Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard special operating agency playing central roles. While it is unclear whether the designation of low-impact and serviced shipping corridors is likely to increase navigation and shipping in Arctic waters, traditional and centralized maritime administration of shipping will likely not suffice. Uniform rules and standards are important for the facilitation of international maritime trade, but Canada’s interests as a coastal State and its responsibilities for this unique region justify high governance standards to ensure environmental protection and equity. In particular, there will be a need to decolonize maritime administration and engage Indigenous peoples in the governance of shipping in their homelands.