Inside Logistics

US Coast Guard studies Bering Strait shipping

Global warming allows more ship traffic; US concerned about possible oil spill


November 19, 2015
by Dan Joling THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

ANCHORAGE, Alaska—More Arctic sea ice melting each summer from global warming is making it easier for ships to plot routes through the environmentally sensitive Bering Strait.

The rise in traffic is prompting concerns among US Coast Guard officials about the potential dangers of a vessel crashing and leaking oil.

The Coast Guard is taking steps to plot a shipping route that will help the ships safely navigate the 53-mile wide waterway separating Russia and Alaska.

Among the vessels slated to pass through the strait is a cruise ship carrying more than 1,000 passengers on a 32-day voyage next year through the Northwest Passage.

The agency has laid out a 4-mile wide route through the Bering Sea into the Arctic Ocean that could become the area’s first official shipping lane.