SUMMARY REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS ON THE PREVENTION OF MARINE OIL POLLUTION IN THE ARCTIC.
Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response (EPPR)
As Northern waters become increasingly accessible as a result of a warming climate, offshore oil and gas operations, maritime shipping and tourism are all expected to increase over the coming years. The Arctic environment however presents a set of spill response and recovery challenges which are not commonly seen elsewhere in the world. These challenges include harsh weather, remoteness, insufficient infrastructure to support a response, cold temperatures that reduce the effectiveness of equipment, and the presence of ice in some areas for much of the year. Thus, effective spill prevention practices are viewed as critical to ensure the protection of the Arctic marine environment from oil pollution incidents. Arctic Council (AC) Ministers have recognized these challenges as well as the benefits of state collaboration on oil pollution prevention. In the 2011 Nuuk Declaration, Arctic Council Ministers tasked the Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response (EPPR) Working Group with developing recommendations and/or best practices in the prevention of marine oil pollution. In the same Declaration, Ministers decided to “establish a Task Force, reporting to the Senior Arctic Officials, to develop an international instrument on Arctic marine oil pollution preparedness and response.” The goal of the Recommended Practices in the Prevention of Arctic Marine Oil Pollution (RP3) project was to gather and analyze current oil spill prevention practices as well as Arctic regulations, standards, guidelines and programs, and to recommend appropriate practices that would take the Arctic challenges into consideration.