Executive Summary for September 23rd

We review the latest Arctic news, including support from the Danish shipping industry to ban heavy fuel oil in the Arctic and a push by Nunavut’s Inuit to be part of talks on the fate of Arctic shipwreck artifacts.

Published on Sep. 23, 2016 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Inuit Push for Inclusion on Future of Franklin Ship Artifacts

Inuit continue their struggle to be included in discussions with Canada and Britain over the future of the artifacts retrieved from the historic shipwrecks found in the Northwest Passage.

Cathy Towtongie of Nunavut Tunngavik, the organization representing Inuit in Nunavut, told the Guardian that Canada is obligated to consult with Inuit.

The territory of Nunavut was created in 1999 through a land-claim agreement that includes a section on archaeology, stating that archaeological specimens will be jointly owned by the Canadian government and the Inuit Heritage Trust.

According to the Guardian, the government of Canada has “acknowledged the Inuit’s joint ownership rights” and it will ask for agreement from the U.K. National Museum of the Royal Navy to include the Inuit Heritage Trust in “future discussions related to the transfer of artifacts.”

The fight began two years ago, after the discovery of the H.M.S. Erebus and was revived when a second British ship, the HMS Terror, was found in especially good condition.

A tip from an Inuit hunter helped explorers from the nonprofit Arctic Research Foundation locate the HMS Terror, one of two ships that vanished 168 years ago during the Franklin expedition.

Inuit oral history includes stories of “a campsite, a tent and a number of dead bodies and graves from an expedition,” University of Waterloo archaeologist Robert Park told National Geographic.

Shippers Call for Ban on Arctic Use of Heavy Fuel Oil

The Danish shipping industry is supporting a global ban on the use of heavy fuel oil in the Arctic.

Dansk Rederiforening, a lobby group for the Danish shipping industry, said ships operating in the Arctic should stop using heavy fuel oil when travelling in Arctic waters, but that the ban needs to come from the International Maritime Organization, the Arctic Journal reported.

The IMO has banned the use of heavy fuel oil in the Antarctic because it is difficult to clean up, it adds to air pollution and it releases black carbon, or soot, which can settle on snow and ice and accelerate melting. But the ban was not included in the Polar Code, which goes into effect in January 2017.

Russia Opens Northernmost Oil Field

Russia announced that it had started the commercial operation of the world’s northernmost land-based oil field, this week.

Alexey Miller, the CEO of Gazprom, Russia’s state-controlled energy company, said the project is expected to be a “key part” of Russia’s oil and gas development in the Arctic, reported Sputnik News.

The Vostochno-Messoyakhsky project is located on the Gydan Peninsula in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Area. The development of northern oil fields will contribute to the economic development of Russia’s Arctic region, Tass reported.

Production in 2016 is expected to be 577,000 tons, rising to a peak production of 5.6 million tons of oil by 2020, Russia Beyond the Headlines reported.

Meanwhile, the first-ever University of the Arctic Congress in St. Petersburg, Russia, focused on how carbon emissions could be reduced in the Arctic and explored the risk of oil extraction to fragile Arctic ecosystems, the Maritime Executive reported.

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