Safe Navigation & Environmental Protection

This research project explores a range of tools to help mitigate risks and adverse impacts from shipping and identify respectful approaches for safeguarding Inuit interests. It will also contribute to marine spatial planning, and determine how complementarities can be promoted and conflicts prevented — or managed — in shipping corridors.

Project details

Principal Investigator:
Aldo Chircop, Ronald Pelot, Floris Goerlandt, Claudio Aporta
Principle Investigator:
Project Start Date:
Project End Date:
Documentation:
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Research Outcomes

About the research project

OFI Large Research Module N

About the research

The Northwest Atlantic and Canadian ArcticGateway are undergoing fundamental change. Arctic sea ice ismelting due to climate change and as a result, this region of the ocean is becomingmore accessible to summer commercial and recreational shipping, withconsequential impacts on navigation routes.  

While increased shipping is beneficial to trade, resource development and scientific studies, it also results in adverse impacts. This includes air pollution,risks for public health, greenhouse gas emissions, potential conflicts withother ocean users, safety of life at sea concerns, potentially costly marinepollution, disruption of marine life from anthropogenic noise and potentialdisruption of Inuit uses of ice and marine areas.

This research project explores arange of tools to help mitigate risks and adverse impacts fromshipping and identify respectful approaches for safeguarding Inuit interests. It will also contribute to marine spatialplanning, and determine how complementarities can be promoted and conflictsprevented — or managed — in shipping corridors.

This work is uniquely complex. The Northwest Atlantic and Canadian Arctic Gateway are not static and have seasonal risk patterns, including bad weather, fog and the presence —or absence— of ice. The Marine Spatial Planning component in the Canadian Arctic Gateway will bedriven largely by Inuit perspectives and interests, which see the changingland-, sea-, and ice-scapes as a continuity.

Project Update - 2018

Key areas of research 

Safety & environmental issues:

  • ship emissions
  • ship noise
  • marine spill response
  • search and rescue

Assessments & tools:

  • risk assessment
  • marine spatial planning assessment
  • regulatory assessment
  • marine scientific research assessment  

The impact

This research is helping develop in-depthunderstanding of key risks, including:

  • how aerosols transport pollution from ship atmospheric emissions and potential health and environmental impacts
  • the impact of ship-generated noise in the marine ecosystem
  • search and rescue and pollution response demands from increased shipping in remote areas
  • conflicting interactions produced by increased shipping on other ocean users, most especially Inuit communities.

The project will produce a suite of riskassessment, spatial use planning and policy tools to assist Canadianregulators, shipping industry and coastal communities and facilitateallocation of scarce resources.

The research team

This research is guided by aResearch Advisory Council, whose members include Canadian Senator CharlieWatt, representatives from Transport Canada and other federal bodies,representatives from the Canadian shipping industry and Inuit leaders. The module’s collaborating researchers are experts in atmospheric and oceanographic science, engineering and social sciences including maritime law, marine management and geography.

Research partners:

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • international academic institutions including Kiel University, Université de Bretagne Occidentale and the IMO World Maritime University

Leadership

This research project is co-led by a team of four from Dalhousie University:

  • Aldo Chircop, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Maritime Law & Policy
  • Ronald Pelot, Associate Scientific Director of MEOPAR NCE
  • Floris Goerlandt, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Risk Management and Resource Optimization for Marine Industries
  • Claudio Aporta, Director of the Marine Affairs Program at Dalhousie University