Typical Mitigating Measures for Ship Operations


The primary method that should be used to mitigate impacts of icebreaking, noise and disturbance is route selection. There are alternate routes to most areas in the Canadian Arctic. In many cases, the ship may use a number of different navigable channels to reach its destination. Routes should be selected to minimize potential interaction between the ship and valued ecosystem components (VEC).

Ship Speed Reduction

Speed reduction is a secondary method that should be used to mitigate the impact of ship noise. A ship's speed is usually related closely to the power of its engines and the revolutions of the propeller. The primary sources of ship-based noise result from the engine and propellor. These noises can be minimized in environmentally sensitive areas by a reduction in power and revolutions. Where this is not possible, an alternate route should be considered.

Helicopter Operations

To ensure aircraft safety and to protect the environment, helicopters must adhere to strict operational procedures. Helicopters should be subject to routing restrictions intended to protect the environment. In addition to routing considerations, they should normally operate at altititudes of at least 300 m above sea or ground level. An anti-harassment policy should be adhered to in order to prevent helicopters from approaching too closely to animals.

Waste Handling

The waste generated onboard a ship must be managed by the ship's operators to ensure that pollution is minimized. Regulations currently prohibit the discharge of waste into the Arctic waters.


Ship Masters should contact communities along the intended route prior to transit to determine the current locaton of parties along the ice and any other issues which may be of concern.

Resource Harvesting

Shipping should avoid important hunting areas used by Inuit hunters.

On-Ice Travel

By informing Arctic communities in advance where a ship is likely to be, the operators should be able to work with the communities to identify problems that might occur as a result of the ship's track and to develop the best approach to creating as little disruption to hunters as possible.

Social/Cultural Effects

Consultation with communities may extend to such issues as substance abuse and ways to prevent ship traffic from introducing changes in native lifestyles.


Arctic shipping should continue to be a catalyst for arctic research, to the extent that the conduct of research may allow a better understanding of arctic marine systems.

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