Southern Ocean Decade & Polar Data Forum Week 2021

Online, 20 - 24 September 2021 An Ocean Of Opportunities

A data tool for planning, prevention, and response to international maritime incidents in the Bering Strait

Jill S. Prewitt

Vessel traffic through the Bering Strait is increasing, and is expected to continue increasing as sea ice decreases and the open water season lengthens. With this increased vessel traffic comes increased risk of marine accidents and oil or other contaminant spills in the area. However, this area also has a lack of infrastructure and resources to respond to incidents of this nature, and has transboundary communication and data sharing challenges between Russian and US authorities. For example, the US Arctic Environmental Response Management Application (Arctic ERMA), the US online and field data tool that is used for both planning, prevention and response actions, is stored on US Government servers (i.e., NOAA) and not currently accessible by Russian authorities. For these reasons, there is a need for an oil spill response tool that is accessible by both US and Russian authorities in the event of an oil spill - or some other contaminant spill - in the Bering Strait area. The Bering Strait Transboundary Incident Response Tool will co-locate relevant data from the Russian and the US sides of the Bering Strait, as well as the northern Bering and southern Chukchi Seas. The final product will allow for both Russian and US authorities and scientists to access the same data and to share the same visualizations of the area within the Bering Strait region. This information is valuable not only for a potential response to an emergency event such as an oil spill, but will be useful as a public information resource to a broader group of interested parties on both sides of the EEZ, including coastal communities, conservation groups, resource managers and academic researchers.