Due to the increasing ship traffic in the Arctic, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted new voluntary routing measures, including recommended routes, precautionary areas, and areas to be avoided in the Bering Strait and Bering Sea Region. To understand the extent to which vessels adhered to these new IMO routing measures in 2019, Nuka Research was contracted by The Pew Charitable Trusts to research and prepare a white paper study.
This analysis used Automatic Identification System data transmitted by vessels to gather data signals compiled to portray vessel tracks. This data was an initial scan of activity in the first ice-free season after the recommendations were implemented in December of 2018. These tracks were then used to create maps and examine vessel movements, individually or grouped by type. This study found that transiting ships were mostly adhering to the routing measures as a whole, unlike passenger vessels, tugs and fishing vessels who did not follow the IMO routing measures and would not necessarily be expected to do so.