In response to today’s US Coast Guard release of the Bering Strait Port Access Route Study, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) issued the following statement from Elena Agarkova, senior program officer and shipping expert:
“The US Coast Guard is taking a huge step forward in developing common-sense approaches to responsibly reduce the risk of maritime incidents in some of the most ecologically significant areas of the Bering Strait. This plan will make shipping safer in the Bering Strait region for mariners, local communities and wildlife alike.
“Shipping traffic in the rough and poorly-charted Bering Strait region is on the rise, yet there are no shipping-specific regulations in place to help prevent accidents. By looking at the areas to be avoided (ATBAs) recommended by the Coast Guard, shippers can decide to play it safe and stay away from sensitive areas.
“Moving forward, the US Coast Guard would benefit by continuing to work in collaboration with Russia to ensure bilateral support for the protection of people and wildlife in this fragile area.”