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Maritime Infrastructure: A Strategic Approach and Interagency Leadership Could Improve Federal Efforts in the U.S. Arctic
Arctic sea ice has diminished, lengthening the navigation season and increasing opportunities for maritime shipping. However, the U.S. Arctic lacks maritime infrastructure - such as a deep-draft port and comprehensive nautical charting - to support increased traffic. The lack of infrastructure exacerbates risks inherent to shipping in the Arctic such as vast distances and dangerous weather. This report examines (1) how U.S. Arctic shipping trends have changed since 2009 and factors that have shaped shipping in the region, and (2) the extent to which U.S. agencies' efforts to address Arctic maritime infrastructure gaps have aligned with leading management practices. GAO collected U.S. Coast Guard traffic data from 2009 through 2019 and interviewed 20 stakeholders selected to represent a range of views. GAO also analyzed Arctic strategies, interviewed selected agencies involved with maritime infrastructure, and compared efforts to leading management practices.
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