Arctic Yearbook 2012
Humpert and Raspotnik
and the consequent transportation of the resources gained can be considered an essential Arctic
The opening and future development of Arctic shipping routes will not only depend on favorable
climatic conditions across the Arctic Ocean, but will also be influenced by a lasting shift in economic,
geographic, and political spheres of influence (Blunden, 2012). Asia’s growing appetite for raw
materials and hydrocarbon resources and China’s rise as the world’s largest exporter of manufactured
goods and second-largest importer of globally shipped goods, may trigger a gradual but lasting shift
in the global trade dynamics and world trade patterns (Campbell, 2012). The opening of the Arctic
will enhance Iceland’s strategic location at the entrance and exit of the Arctic Ocean and China aims
to establish a strategic partnership with the island nation. The development of the TSR and its
significant economic potential may thus in part be determined by key geostrategic considerations as
the center of economic and political power continues to shift towards Asia.
The central Arctic Ocean has not yet seen any commercial shipping transiting the ocean across
the North Pole. Yet seven trans-Arctic voyages, conducted by icebreakers were accomplished by
2008. See PAME.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) indicates that the
export of Chinese goods and services make for an average of 34% of China’s GDP between
2003 and 2009. See OECD (2012).
Type A vessel designates a ‘light icebreaker.’
For relevant regulations and standards regarding the international private maritime law
framework applicable in the Arctic region. See VanderZwaag et. al., 2008: 35-50.
Among others, the following papers elaborate on the legal dispute in the NWP and NSR,
respectively, see Brubaker, 2005; Kraska, 2007; Pharand, 2007.
Yet Part VI of UNCLOS additionally defines a costal state rights with regard to its continental
shelf and the potential of an extended continental shelf beyond the 200 nm margin.
International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, London, 1 November 1974 as amended
International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, London, 2 November
1973 as amended (MARPOL 73/78).
Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, London, 20
Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter
1972 and its Protocol of 1996.