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4 Canada and the Governance of the Northwest Passage: Rough Waters, Cooperative Currents, Sea of Challenges

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Chapter Summary

The Northwest Passage, consisting of seven routes through Canada's Arctic Archipelago, has long held a fabled status. The Passage has been romanticized through explorers and adventurers who have plied its challenging waters. The loss of the Franklin expedition trying to navigate the Northwest Passage led to over seventy expeditions trying to find Franklin and his men. The Norwegian explorer, Roald Amundsen, completed the first sailing of the Northwest Passage in 1906. The Northwest Passage has offered a dream of shortened shipping routes, for example, saving a distance of about 5,000 nautical miles (n.m.) from Asia to Europe by avoiding the Panama Canal and reducing the sailing distance from Seattle to Rotterdam by nearly 2,000 n.m. Although when the Northwest Passage will be subject to increased transit passages remains uncertain, the adequacies of shipping governance measures at the national, regional and global levels is clearly on the international radar screen.

Keywords: Canada; Manhattan Voyage; Northwest Passage; Polar Sea Transit; Rotterdam



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