Sea Technology

JAN 2018

The industry's recognized authority for design, engineering and application of equipment and services in the global ocean community

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20 ST | January 2018 We will need the same courage and foresight of Sec- retary of State William Seward and his president, Abra- ham Lincoln, to craft a vision for a safe and secure Arctic region. As we commemorate 150 years of Coast Guard operations in Alaska, we are witnessing the acceleration of rising temperatures in the higher latitudes at a much faster pace than anywhere else on the globe. Even though ice coverage hit record lows during the 2017 season, our International Ice Patrol recorded the fourth consecutive "extreme ice season" with more than 600 icebergs in the shipping lanes. Many of these are calving from the Ja- kobshavn Glacier in Greenland—the same source of the icebergs that sank the Titanic in 1912. In the face of an already dangerous Arctic, safety risks increase as human activity from cruise ships, offshore drilling and commercial shipping also increase. From 2008 to 2016, traffic in the Bering Strait more than dou- bled and is expected to increase two- to four-fold in the next eight years. The retreat of sea ice, which once served as a natural breakwater for indigenous residents, has caused severe coastal erosion that threatens the habit- ability in multiple Arctic communities. Fishermen and in- digenous whalers push further offshore, facing a litany of new threats. Between 2010 and 2016, search and rescue cases doubled. This summer alone, Coast Guard crews deployed in support of Operation Arctic Shield respond- ed to 20 cases, saving 16 lives and assisting 23 others. A seabed full of oil, gas and minerals in the Arctic provides rich resources for the United States and other Arctic nations to access and draw from. This opportunity is not without risk, as any oil spill would be catastrophic in this pristine environment and could directly affect sub- sistence living, as well as endangered species. With less than 5 percent of the Arctic surveyed and charted to 21st century standards, the potential for a vessel grounding with catastrophic loss of life and environmental damage cannot be overstated given the remoteness of that region and the distance that our Coast Guard search and rescue crews must travel. Further—and most importantly—extraterritorial claims backed with military force from select nations pose an additional security threat to the Arctic region. The Coast Guard's dedicated Arctic presence is one of the few constants in this dynamic region, and with it comes an increased demand for our finite resources. Given what is at stake, how is the Coast Guard ensuring security and prosperity in the region? Two words: diplo- macy and presence. Diplomacy When the Unites States formed the Arctic Coast Guard Forum (ACGF) in 2015, top Coast Guard officials from each of the eight Arctic nations were largely strangers. Now, we work closely together for the common good. We established the first layer of maritime governance in the Arctic, creating a network of partners built on mutu- al trust and common interests overlaid by strategy and operational protocols. Just two years after this coopera- tive body was formed, we organized and executed the largest search and rescue exercise in the Arctic, "Arctic Academic Research Fleet The U.S. Academic Research Fleet (ARF) included 18 vessels in calendar year 2016, ranging in size, endurance and capabilities to enable NSF and other federally and state-funded scientists to conduct ocean science and technology research in coastal and open-ocean waters. NSF received congressional appropriation in 2017 with partial funding for three Regional Class Research Vessels (RCRVs) and is awaiting 2018 budgetary guid- ance. RV Thomas G. Thompson, operated by the Uni- versity of Washington, is completing a mid-life refit, and the new vessel RV Sally Ride, operated by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, transitioned into operations in 2016. Coordination for ARF vessel use occurs through the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS), which schedules all scientific seagoing mis- sions for the ARF in collaboration with the funding agen- cies. The vessels within the ARF are operated by academ- ic institutions through cooperative agreements (NSF) and charter-party agreements (ONR) and are part of the UN- OLS organization. Moving Forward In a time of uncertainty and change, NSF remains committed to basic science and education while con- tinuing to support groundbreaking research and techno- logical innovation. This advancement will incorporate broader impacts to society to help inform policy deci- sions. NSF continues to use the recommendations pro- vided in the "Sea Change: 2015-2025 Decadal Survey of Ocean Sciences," or "Sea Change" (Sea Technology, June 2015), as a guide to ensure a strong ocean science enterprise through 2025. ST Review&Forecast A Vision for a Safe and Secure Arctic By Admiral Paul F. Zukunft Commandant U.S. Coast Guard T he Coast Guard has been operating in the Arctic since the U.S. became an Arctic nation. In 1867, the Revenue Cutter Lincoln car- ried U.S. government offi- cials to Sitka to transfer the territory to the U.S ultimately making our country an Arc- tic nation. This transfer of the Alaska territory from a finan- cially strapped Russia to the United States at an afford- able cost of two cents per acre was dubbed "Seward's Folly." But with the passage of time, as vast natural re- sources were discovered in the region and its strategic positioning provided leverage throughout the Cold War, we realized this purchase was no folly. It was visionary.

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