Concerns about Arctic shipping should be addressed by the U.N's International Maritime Organization rather than coastal states, said the International Chamber of Shipping as it released a new position paper on Arctic shipping.
ICS noted "offshore support vessel activity is already significant, while destination shipping is anticipated to grow as the extraction of energy and raw materials is developed. Use of the Northern Sea Route is also a reality for a small but increasing number of ships in the summer months."
"As the volume of Arctic shipping gradually increases, there is a growing awareness about the need for a high degree of care when ships navigate Arctic waters. However, the proper forum for addressing these concerns is the International Maritime Organization, which is currently developing a Polar Code that is expected to be mandatory," said Simon Bennett, ICS director of external relations.
He said it's important that Arctic nations avoid unilateral measures that might cut across IMO conventions or the provisions of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
The chamber said "individual coastal states should not impose discriminatory treatment that might prejudice the rights of ships registered with non-Arctic nations under international maritime law, such as unilateral ship construction, design and equipment standards."
ICS also said it believes "the UNCLOS regime of ‘transit passage’ for straits used for international navigation takes precedence over the rights of coastal states to enact unilateral measures against international shipping." - Chris Dupin