Worldwide there are approximately 3,000 merchant ports and the work of the Harbour Master can vary widely from country to country and from port to port even within the same country.
That is the title of a document launched by the British Government on 9 February.
This document brings together all the UK’s policies and strategies relating to the Arctic under a single, integrated framework. It outlines the full range of UK interests in the region, and sets out the long-term priorities and objectives which shape the country’s engagement and actions in the Arctic.
This new framework aims to represent evolution, rather than revolution, in the UK’s approach to the Arctic. It covers the country’s longstanding interests in the region, particularly at a time of heightened tension there, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and growing competition from China. It has been stated that the UK’s approach will remain dynamic, responsive to changes in the Arctic region and across the world.
In the UK the long-term strategic objective remains for the Arctic to be a peaceful and stable region, characterised by cooperation. The framework reiterates that the UK will remain an active, influential and reliable partner in the Arctic.
In doing so, the UK will focus activity across four priority areas:
At the launch of Looking North: the UK and the Arctic it was stated that the UK will work with its partners and Allies to help maintain the Arctic as a place that is safe, secure, peaceful, and well-governed, protecting its environment and the communities that live there.
The document Looking North: the UK and the Arctic is available here:
The Arctic Council
The Arctic Council has been the leading intergovernmental forum promoting cooperation, coordination and interaction on common Arctic issues since its inception in 1996. Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2021, its longevity is a testament to the important role the Council has played in promoting peace and cooperation in the Arctic.
The UK has been a State Observer to the Arctic Council since its first meeting, and its status was most recently reaffirmed at the 12th Ministerial meeting of the Arctic Council in Reykjavik in May 2021. The UK has continued to be represented at all of the Ministerial and Senior Arctic Official meetings, and we have participated actively in the Council’s work.
The Arctic States, that is to say the Member States of the Arctic Council, are: Canada; The Kingdom of Denmark (including Greenland and the Faroe Islands); Finland; Iceland; Norway; Russian Federation; Sweden and the United States of America.
The marine environment
The UK has played a particularly prominent role in the Arctic Council’s Protection of the Marine Environment (PAME) Working Group, recently helping frame the Polar Code (The IMO International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters), and establishing the Arctic Shipping Best Practice Information Forum to support the exchange of information and best practice.
Passenger vessel trends
The UK supported the development of the Marine Litter Regional Action Plan, which works to reduce the impact of marine litter, including micro-plastics in the Arctic seas. Together with Canada and Iceland, the UK also co-led the Arctic Marine Tourism project to analyse passenger vessel trends in the Arctic region.
The UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO), as a global leader in producing charts and publication services to support international maritime navigation, continually develops its publications to take account of changing shipping patterns and new trading routes.
To do so, UKHO maintains strong links with Arctic nations to ensure access to the best available data to serve the needs of the international mariner.
Furthermore, the UKHO is developing marine capability in geospatial information management to support the UK’s Arctic interests. Such capability will ensure that UK expertise, scientific research, hydrographic surveying, marine cartography and nautical information is suitably integrated to provide comprehensive and efficient information management.
The UK will continue to seek Associate Member status of the Arctic Regional Hydrographic Commission for the UKHO, in order to maintain close links with other nations in the region and to share the UK’s knowledge and expertise of Arctic hydrography.
IHMA is pleased to introduce its newest Commercial members Xanatos Marine
Build inspiration in the transport and logistic industry by sharing excellence!