The U.S. Coast Guard and the Russian Federation’s Marine Rescue Service recently signed the 2020 Joint Contingency Plan of the United States of America & the Russian Federation in Combating Pollution on the Bering & Chukchi Seas. The long-awaited plan will guide the two countries’ joint actions to respond to an oil spill in shared waters of the Bering and Chukchi Sea. Recognizing the importance of this effort, WWF issued the following statement from Margaret Williams, Managing Director, Arctic Program:
“The Joint Contingency Plan is the first for the two countries in more than a decade in a region where ship traffic in the Bering Strait has doubled and climate change impacts have transformed the area. These shared waters are vulnerable to harmful shipping accidents and oil spills which impact the health of the ocean, the wildlife and habitats that call it home and the communities that surround it. A joint solution was desperately needed and this critical agreement will provide a framework for response to environmental threats and pollution.
“Throughout a long process, WWF has remained supportive and committed to finding a shared plan and goals between the US and Russia when responding to spills in the Bering Strait. This effort shows that collaboration on behalf of ocean protection is possible.”