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The Northwest Passage and the Panama Canal

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  • The Northwest Passage and the Panama Canal

    Alright, we all know that because of climate change, bla bla bla, Arctic sea ice has reduced enough for the Northwest Passage to become a reality.

    So, this poses an interesting question. Before the passage opened, the Panama Canal was the quickest way to travel in between the Pacific and the Atlantic. Now, with the passage opened up, even though it's not really practical to use for a few years, the significance of the Panama Canal is reduced.

    Basically, will the Panama Canal become less and less important, or will it still remain a very key point after say, 40 years?
    "The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his."

    General G. C. Patton

  • #2
    Good question

    I imagine at first the ships that will take the NW passage will be those that are too large for the canal and are currently taking longer southern routes. If the canal starts to lose business they might try to widen it.
    Any metaphor will tear if stretched over too much reality.

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    • #3
      Found this in Wiki for info'
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northwest_Passage

      On April 9, 2006, Canada's Joint Task Force North declared that the Canadian military will no longer refer to the region as the Northwest Passage, but as the Canadian Internal Waters. The declaration came after the successful completion of Operation Nunalivut (Inuktitut for "the land is ours"), which was an expedition into the region by five military patrols.

      In 2006 a report prepared by the staff of the Parliamentary Information and Research Service of Canada suggested that because of the September 11, 2001 attacks the United States might be less interested in pursuing the international waterways claim in the interests of having a more secure North American perimeter. This report was based on an earlier paper, The Northwest Passage Shipping Channel: Is Canada’s Sovereignty Really Floating Away? by Andrea Charron, given to the 2004 Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute Symposium. Later in 2006 former United States Ambassador to Canada, Paul Cellucci agreed with this position, however the current Ambassador, David Wilkins states that the Northwest Passage is in international waters.

      On July 9, 2007 Prime Minister Harper announced the establishment of a deep water port in the far North. In the government press release the Prime Minister is quoted as saying, “Canada has a choice when it comes to defending our sovereignty over the Arctic. We either use it or lose it. And make no mistake, this Government intends to use it. Because Canada’s Arctic is central to our national identity as a northern nation. It is part of our history. And it represents the tremendous potential of our future."

      On July 10, 2007 Rear Admiral Timothy McGee of the United States Navy, and Rear Admiral Brian Salerno of the United States Coast Guard announced that the United States would also be increasing its ability to patrol the Arctic.

      ______________________

      It seems to be a "watch this space" scenario!

      What is the buffer zone to where territorial waters become international waters?
      "In modern war... you will die like a dog for no good reason."
      Ernest Hemingway.

      Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?

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      • #4
        Should the "Northwest Passage" become even a reasonable seasonal route, I see big problems for the Panama canal.

        Cost, and potentially time, savings could be enourmous if the Arctic route were navigable even 6 months of the year.

        The Canadian navy is returning to the north in the biggest way since the 50's when HMCS Labrador (a navy ice breaker) tranversed the passage in both directions. Currently there are annual exercises 'north of 60' and the government has announced that 6 - 8 Arctic Patrol vessels are to be built.
        http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/newsroo..._e.asp?id=2370
        Amateurs study tactics, Professionals study logistics.

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        • #5
          So with mineral exploration becoming a big issue in the Arctic, will the dispute of "boundries" become a political time bomb for nations who claim teritorial control beyond their own landmass?

          Canada wants to assert its authority yet America wishes to retain patrols and in future increase them, with or without right of passage requested by Canada!

          Interesting issue, wonder what kind of down turn this new shipping route will cause for some of the large ports in Southern Asia and to a lesser extent Australia!
          "In modern war... you will die like a dog for no good reason."
          Ernest Hemingway.

          Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?

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          • #6
            That there is an interesting future brewing in the north is undeniable.

            A long standing dispute between Canada and Denmark over "Hans Island" has begun to take on new meaning with changing climate. It's an uninhabited chunk of rock between Canada's arctic and Greenland. The "Flag War" has been waging for over a decade, one side sends someone to erect a flag, eventually the other side sends one of their own in. Canada upped the ante by sending the Minister of National Defence in 2005. It's all rather civilized really

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Island
            Amateurs study tactics, Professionals study logistics.

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            • #7
              If I'm not mistaking Panama is already widening the Canal. Read today that the US Coast Guard is to build a new facility in the far north of claimed Alaskan waters.
              "Ask not what your country can do for you"

              Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

              you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

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              • #8
                OK - Maybe it isn't as easy as we thought . . .

                Despite warming, ships to shun Northwest Passage

                . . . The highly unpredictable nature of Arctic ice, a total lack of infrastructure, narrow channels, relatively shallow waters, increased insurance costs and the unwillingness of firms to take risks are all to blame. . . .
                Any metaphor will tear if stretched over too much reality.

                Questions about our site? See the FAQ.

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                • #9
                  Until some new construction comes on line with ships meeting 'ice classifications'. http://www.tc.gc.ca/acts-regulations...a001.html#schv

                  Such ships have stronger hulls, more compartments, redundancy in rudder and propellors, etc. Their reduced insurance and 'toll free' travel through the arctic might balance out the increased building costs. Especially if the ship was above Panamax size.
                  Amateurs study tactics, Professionals study logistics.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Roadkiller View Post
                    Until some new construction comes on line with ships meeting 'ice classifications'. http://www.tc.gc.ca/acts-regulations...a001.html#schv

                    Such ships have stronger hulls, more compartments, redundancy in rudder and propellors, etc. Their reduced insurance and 'toll free' travel through the arctic might balance out the increased building costs. Especially if the ship was above Panamax size.
                    It seems to me that the Russians used to buy Canadian wheat back in the 70's and early 80's by using the Northwest Passage to get it from grain silos up near Churchill IIRC.
                    "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Roadkiller View Post
                      That there is an interesting future brewing in the north is undeniable.

                      A long standing dispute between Canada and Denmark over "Hans Island" has begun to take on new meaning with changing climate. It's an uninhabited chunk of rock between Canada's arctic and Greenland. The "Flag War" has been waging for over a decade, one side sends someone to erect a flag, eventually the other side sends one of their own in. Canada upped the ante by sending the Minister of National Defence in 2005. It's all rather civilized really

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Island
                      Now i like this idea, fighting with flags... You Canadians and our Denmark cousins are on to something here, :flag: :flag: :flag:

                      ...am having trouble reading journalists reports of the battle ,however, as all the reports are in semaphore!!!!!!!!

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                      • #12
                        The "Flag War" is now a three way fight! This past summer the Russians planted their flag on the North Pole. No, not 'at' the North Pole, ON it. Using a research submarine they planted a flag on the floor of the Arctic Ocean to support their claims to the region. ( http://www.scrippsnews.com/node/27819 The link also discusses the latest on Hans Island, where the 'War' started. Looks like the Canadian claim is not supported by geography. )

                        THIS IS VERY SERIOUS. Does the world really want Santa Claus's homeland controlled by the Russians? However, there is a back-up plan if Canada has no claim to the pole, he will be invited to move to Hans Island, showing solidarity with the Hans Island Liberation Front http://www.scrippsnews.com/node/27819 )

                        For the latest, tune in to Radio Free Hans Island - http://www.radiofreehansisland.com/index.html

                        I apologize to the orginal poster who had a very valid question. And while Canadians DO take the claims to our north very seriously, there has always been a sort of national circumspection about it. Kind of "are these guys really serious about it"? So we tend to have fun with it.
                        Amateurs study tactics, Professionals study logistics.

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                        • #13
                          Well, at least Santas suit is the right colour if he is gonna work for the Russians..!!

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