Shipping governance in the Bering Strait Region: Protecting the Diomede Islands and adjacent waters

By Andrey Todorov, Visiting Scholar of the Russia and Eurasia Program The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy


Increasing shipping in the Bering Strait Region (BSR) has prompted the two coastal states, the United States and Russia, to implement measures aimed at reducing the risks to the region’s sensitive marine environment and local population dependent on subsistence economies. A significant step forward was made in 2018 when the two countries established joint ships’ routeing measures in the area through the International Maritime Organization (IMO). However, additional measures will be needed to create a comprehensive traffic management scheme in the BSR. This article focuses on analyzing potential courses of action that Russia and the United States could pursue, jointly or separately, to protect the BSR from the adverse effects of growing shipping. In particular, it studies and compares specific tools that could be applied to the Diomede Islands and adjacent marine areas, such as designation of Areas To Be Avoided (ATBAs) and Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas (PSSAs), speed restrictions, and implementation of a ship reporting system. In addition, considering the growing tensions between the United States and Russia, this article explores several potential scenarios in which the two countries implement different instruments independently of each other.

Access the full article on Science Direct.

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