The Arctic in great Needs of Search and Rescue (SAR) Response
The Arctic may be the best candidate to apply remote technology. A recent research by J. Yoo, F. Goerlandt and A. Chircop titled “Unmanned remotely operated Search and Rescue ships in the Canadian Arctic: Exploring the opportunities, risk dimensions and governance implications (forthcoming in 2020)” highlighted probabilities of remotely operated unmanned ships for search and rescue (SAR) responses in the Arctic.
Given the climate change and the warming Arctic, the Northern Sea Route and Northwest Passage will likely widen their sea routes and extend season length over a year, giving more opportunities to commercial ship operations.
MASS to Complement SAR Capacity
However, it should be noted that any single ship accident in the Arctic could cause irreparable catastrophic damages to lives on board, properties, coastal livelihoods of indigenous people, and vulnerable Arctic environment.
To prevent these risks from being realized in the region, Arctic states have put in place a variety of resources such as ice navigators, icebreakers, mandatory reporting systems for ship operators, enhanced satellite and terrestrial communication systems, and SAR helicopters and aircraft.
However, the expected increase of ships in the region is presumed to outweigh current SAR capacities among Arctic nations.
As such, the novel design of remotely operated SAR ships adapted to the Arctic circumstances in the future will not only complement SAR responses, but also provide indigenous people in the northern regions with socio-economic opportunities to contribute to the safety of the Arctic.
Source: JY ., Goerlandt, F., Chircop, A., (2020, forthcoming). Unmanned Remotely Operated Search and Rescue Ships in the Canadian Arctic: Exploring the Opportunities, Risk Dimensions and Governance Implications. In Governance of Arctic Shipping: Rethinking Risk, Human Impacts and Regulation. Springer.