White House Releases Arctic Shipping Plan

ironically the White House releases this the same day that Shell says no go for the Arctic in 2014

[B][B]White House Releases Arctic Shipping Plan[/B][/B]

January 30, 2014 By Reuters

As Arctic ice melts away, opening the way for greater oil development and mining, the White House outlined a plan on Thursday to promote safety and security in the region by building ports, improving forecasts of sea ice, and developing shipping rules.

With warmer temperatures leaving Arctic sea passages open for longer periods of the year, billions of barrels of oil could be tapped beyond what is already being produced in the region. A loss of seasonal ice could also allow greater exploitation of precious minerals considered abundant in the Arctic.

Extreme weather conditions, however, make the region a challenge to navigate and develop.

The White House plan was released on the same day that Royal Dutch Shell canceled drilling this year off Alaska, after a series of costly mishaps in the harsh conditions, as part of efforts to cut spending.

The U.S. Defense Department will lead an interagency effort to forecast icy conditions by launching a satellite and improving analytic methods to forecast icy conditions.

The Department of Commerce, meanwhile, will lead coordination on surveying and charting of U.S. Arctic waters to ease shipping and improve adaptation to climate change in coastal communities.

“Our highest priority is to protect the American people, our sovereign territory and rights and the natural resources and other interests of the United States,” said the plan, which is part of President Barack Obama’s National Strategy for the Arctic Region he announced last May. The plan can be seen at:

In addition, the State Department will attempt to reach an agreement with Canada on the Beaufort Sea maritime boundary, and the Department of Homeland Security will lead work on developing an international code for ships operating in polar waters.

The U.S. military had been working on strategy in the Arctic before the plan was announced on Thursday.

The U.S. Navy is nearing completion of a new Arctic “road map” that lays out its approach to future engagements in the region, given increasingly open waterways. The updated document is based on the Navy’s first comprehensive assessment of the near-term, mid-term and long-term availability of sea passages, due to the loss of seasonal ice.

In a recent blog written for the Navy’s website, Navy Oceanographer Rear Admiral Jon White said an inter-agency team made the assessment after a comprehensive review of current Arctic sea-ice projections.

He said current trends were expected to continue in the near-term, with the Bering Strait expected to see open conditions about 160 days a year by 2020. The mid-term period would see increasing levels of ice melt, White said.

In the long-term, beyond 2030, environmental conditions are expected to leave waterways open for longer periods, driving a significant increase in traffic in the summer months.

Earlier this month, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert told a conference that Arctic ice was melting faster than predicted four years ago when the Navy published its first road map.

“We need to understand, we need to take a look at it and decide what does it mean to us for security, maritime security, freedom of navigation, and global force management,” Greenert told a conference hosted by the Surface Navy Association.

Copyright Reuters 2014.

Now time to cease the building of hideously overpriced beercan LCS’s and start building some strengthened steel icebreakers! DO YOU COPY THERE US NAVEE!

I’m so glad (NOAA) was up there in 2012 mapping the sea lanes for the convenience of the Russians and Chinese.

So Shell is just tossing it in and folding up the ol’ yurt.

Some of their suits at the top need to get golden-parachuted out to the curb. So they can get retirement jobs at MarAd and make even mo’ betta decisions for the industry.

[QUOTE=c.captain;129709]Now time to cease the building of hideously overpriced beercan LCS’s and start building some strengthened steel icebreakers![/QUOTE]

In my opinion, what the US(CG) should do is to team up with the Canadians to get some advantages of sharing a common design and not waste years in developing their own icebreaker:


www.akerarctic.fi/09_McGreer.pdf (I’m always having problems opening PDFs from this source directly, so it might be a good idea to save the file on the hard drive first)

In terms of icebreaking performance, the Diefenbreaker is going to be the most capable non-nuclear icebreaker ever built.

[QUOTE=Tups;129747]In my opinion, what the US(CG) should do is to team up with the Canadians to get some advantages of sharing a common design and not waste years in developing their own icebreaker:[/QUOTE]

I agree entirely and since Canada is a cast in concrete ally of ours, we should work with them in a joint operation. Share the management and the costs to protect our common interests in the Arctic

I’m not sure about joint operations and shared management - I’ll leave that to the specialist of those fields - but sharing the same platform would probably result in savings in both construction and maintenance costs even if there were minor changes in some design aspects. Also, it’s not as if you can make the vessel much better, except maybe by increasing propulsion power and/or changing the propulsion arrangement to a less conservative one.

I agree that we should use a proven Finnish design — to minimize reinventing the wheel, and to reduce the risk of building an unexceptional vessel.

However, I think we should build three of the worlds largest and best nuclear powered icebreakers that can operate for at least two years without refueling. With three, two could always be available for use while one was down for repairs.

I don’t want to hear any excuses about why they cannot do this or that because they lack fuel, or it has become too expensive. I do not want to buy a dockside attraction for USCG Rear Admirals to hold parties on. I want ships that are in regular operation in the Arctic, and rarely venture south of Dutch Harbor. Nor do I want to hear about the Russians having to rescue our icebreakers when they run out of fuel. The US Navy has proven nuclear reactor units and they know how to run them. I’d rather pay more up front and know we have the very best vessels on duty in the Arctic with plenty of fuel aboard.

[QUOTE=tugsailor;129785]I agree that we should use a proven Finnish design — to minimize reinventing the wheel, and to reduce the risk of building an unexceptional vessel.

However, I think we should build three of the worlds largest and best nuclear powered icebreakers that can operate for at least two years without refueling. With three, two could always be available for use while one was down for repairs.

I don’t want to hear any excuses about why they cannot do this or that because they lack fuel, or it has become too expensive. I do not want to buy a dockside attraction for USCG Rear Admirals to hold parties on. I want ships that are in regular operation in the Arctic, and rarely venture south of Dutch Harbor. Nor do I want to hear about the Russians having to rescue our icebreakers when they run out of fuel. The US Navy has proven nuclear reactor units and they know how to run them. I’d rather pay more up front and know we have the very best vessels on duty in the Arctic with plenty of fuel aboard.[/QUOTE]

My expectations are becoming rather markedly reduced from earlier comments on this topic. The only thing I pray for is NOT ANOTHER USCG HEALY!

A PISS POOR DESIGN WITH HARDLY ENOUGH POWER TO BREAK THROUGH SODDEN CARDBOARD AND BUTT FUCKING UGLY TO BOOT!

In terms of performance, I don’t see anything particularly wrong with the Healy - it can do what it was designed to do and perhaps a bit more. Just don’t expect a medium icebreaker to do a heavy icebreaker’s job. Also, if you want a ship that can perform a multitude of tasks instead of being a single-purpose vessel, then don’t be surprised if it’s a bit of a compromise. That’s why escorting MT Renda to Nome was a bit of a challenge.

Of course, it’s been about 15 years since the Healy was built and there has been advances in icebreaker technology since then (or well, the technology was already in use back then, but now it has matured to the point it could be accepted by e.g. the USCG). In comparison to the newest Russian icebreakers, the conventional shaftlines are a bit outdated:

The icebreaking capability of that icebreaker (Viktor Chernomyrdin) is probably higher than that of the USCG Polar class with about half of the power.

Speaking of heavy icebreakers and particularly USCGC Polar Sea:

http://www.fiercehomelandsecurity.com/story/second-icebreaker-not-necessary-through-2022-says-coast-guard/2014-01-19

The Coast Guard can meet icebreaking demands in the Arctic through 2022 without reactivating the laid-up USCGC Polar Sea and the National Science Foundation has proven recourse to other icebreaking capability should the service’s single operational heavy icebreaker be unable to break the annual channel to the main American research station in the Antarctic, concludes a Coast Guard analysis.

I wonder where that “other icebreaking capability” is coming from. The Swedes have stated that the Oden is not available during the Northern winter months because it is needed in the home waters. Would the NSF just use Krasin again?

[B]Second heavy icebreaker not necessary through 2022, says Coast Guard[/B]

January 19, 2014 | By David Perera

The Coast Guard can meet icebreaking demands in the Arctic through 2022 without reactivating the laid-up USCGC Polar Sea and the National Science Foundation has proven recourse to other icebreaking capability should the service’s single operational heavy icebreaker be unable to break the annual channel to the main American research station in the Antarctic, concludes a Coast Guard analysis.

The Coast Guard is grappling with the problem of owning only two heavy icebreakers both older than their expected lifetime of three decades. One, the USCGC Polar Star, recently underwent a $90 million overhaul intended to give its 37-year-old hull another seven to 10 years of service.

The other, the USCGC Polar Sea, is tied up “cold iron” to Pier 36 in Seattle, officially inactive since November 2011 – although it’s been effectively inactive since experiencing a catastrophic failure of one of its main propulsion diesel engines in April 2010.
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In abusiness case analysis provided to FierceHomelandSecurity by the Coast Guard, the service doesn’t actually recommend against undertaking an overhaul of the Polar Sea, but it says it can get by without it.

Arctic seasonal demands through 2022 can be met with existing and planned assets, the analysis says.

And although a second heavy icebreaker would provide a backup ship capable of carving the navigable channel to McMurdo Station annually necessary for resupplying the NSF Antarctic research outpost, “the cost of this redundant capability would come at the expense of more pressing and immediate operational demands,” the analysis states. From 2007 until this year, the NSF has contracted with the Swedish government or a Russian company to break the channel.

The Polar Sea is in need of $99.2 million worth of repairs over three years should the Coast Guard try to extend its life for another 7 to 10 years, the analysis estimates. Due to the ship’s age, annual operating costs would go up, from an estimated $36.6 million in the first year of resumed operations to $52.8 million in the tenth.

That means that the total cost of reactivating the heavy icebreaker for up to a decade – the overhaul, plus operating costs including reconstitution of a crew – would be between $573.9 million to as much as $751.7 million, the analysis states. The higher figure has a confidence level risk analysis figure of 90 percent.

As climate change causes accelerated warming in the Arctic, the Coast Guard anticipates an increased need for its presence in the area. A 2011 study commissioned by the Coast Guard concluded that the service will need at least three heavy and three medium icebreakers to fulfill its statutory requirements in polar regions, primarily the Arctic.

But, the Polar Sea business case analysis says the earlier study didn’t assign a timeframe to when projected gaps in mission performance at high latitudes would start appearing, and that "current evidence is insufficient to conclude that significant or moderate changes would occur during the next seven to 10 years.

FUCKING UNREAL! The pinheads at the USCG should be SCREAMING at the top of their lungs that they need MORE heavy icebreakers and that Navy money be diverted to that end. Everyone knows how much I loathe the entire LCS program as one of the most wasteful ever and that the vessels are near useless for any real combat. Even the Navy is cutting back on the program as the GAO shreds the ships and utter ridiculousness of it all. TAKE THAT MONEY AND BUILD ICEBREAKERS if the US truly wants a presence in the Arctic to protect its interests in those frozen seas. STOOPID FUCKING MORONS EVERYWHERE!

This post sheds some light to the current condition of USCGC Polar Sea.

edit: And the full document behind the link is even more interesting. I don’t really see any point in trying to reactivate the old ship.

[QUOTE=Tups;129827]This post sheds some light to the current condition of USCGC Polar Sea.

edit: And the full document behind the link is even more interesting. I don’t really see any point in trying to reactivate the old ship.[/QUOTE]

agreed…new icebreakers should be built that employ the most modern technology than to try to revive the POLAR SEA even though the hull is structurally in “excellent” condition. As I stated, the USCG should be screaming at the top of their lungs to the Congress to pull funding for the LCS program and divert it to the Arctic where the USA has a clear national interest to protect. Yes, the Navee, and the leach mega defense contractors involved with building the LCSs will all howl but for once someone should draw a line in the sand and force the Congress to do the right thing and that should be the Coast Guard. Hell, buy off Lockheed Martin & Austal USA if necessary by giving them other work but let’s build a REAL GODDAMNED SHIP THAT CAN WORK IN THE ICE ALL YEAR LONG and keep the US flag flying in the Arctic. Three LCSs will equal one world class icebreaker even if not a nuke. I ask, what is the better use of the funding?

I hear that Odin will be working up near Prudoe Bay this summer - Not for Shell though.

[QUOTE=mainecheng;131314]I hear that Odin will be working up near Prudoe Bay this summer - Not for Shell though.[/QUOTE]

http://www.noodls.com/view/B9D221E6D9251E3E34C296C70E3883129B4858D1?3564xxx1391187802

This summer, an international research expedition with the icebreaker Oden will travell to the Arctic Ocean. The expedition, altogether, some 80 researchers, is a Swedish-Russian-American cooperation. The expedition will study the changing climate and how the Arctic once was formed.

Research Leaders are Örjan Gustafsson and Martin Jakobsson. Martin is a professor of marine geology and geophysics, and Örjan is a professor of biogeochemistry. Both are from Stockholm University.

The expedition will take place during the summer of 2014 and will last for nearly 100 days. The expedition starts on July 3 in Tromsø, Norway and travels further along the Russian Arctic coast to Barrow in Alaska. About August 20 there will be a change of scientists and crew in Barrow, Alaska. The route back to Scandinavia goes over the Lomonosov Ridge, an underwater mountain chain near the North Pole, and the expedition is expected to return to Tromsø on October 4.