Friday, 2 September 2016

icebreaker and impasse

The somewhat ironically named Crystal Serenity is the first leviathan of a cruise-liner to haul holiday-makers through the once fabled Northwest Passage (only navigable year around since 2009 due to the arctic pack ice) and recently completed its maiden voyage, as Jalopnik reports.
Not only were guests a bit disappointed to not see majestic icebergs parting before them or penguins and polar bears accompanying them, it seems they also failed to appreciate the infamy of being the first “explorers” here. Aside from stark environmental concerns, as the sea-lanes widen and traffic inevitably increases, it also poses a vexing problem for Canada since the waters are part of the country’s internal territory but the rest of the maritime world has already decided (without conferring first with Canada) that there should be free and unhindered transit for all. Depending on how negotiations go forward, Canada might maintain its fishing and environmental regulations but not the power to bar any vessel entry—saddled with the responsibility for combatting piracy, smuggling and clean-up operations when a spill or a wreck does occur.