April 25

By Nick Hoover

The Northern Sea Route (NSR) is the shortest sea route between European part of Russia and the Far East, which runs across the seas of the Artic Ocean (the Barents sea, the Kara sea, the Laptev sea, the East-Siberian sea, the Chickchee sea) and the Pacific Ocean partially (the Bering sea). Based on the norms of International law, affecting the legal regime of the territorial and inland seas, exclusive economic zone and the continetal shelf, norms of the national legislation of the Russian Federation, we can see that for sailing on the routers of NSR there is the special regime, the rights of which are defined by Russia.

In connection with that NSR is the main waterway, leading to the Artic, the activity of the Artic Council applies a certain extent to it too. The members of this organization are the artic and subartic states: the Russian Federation, the USA, Denmark, Island, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Finland. It is notable, that all listed countries, except Finland, are countries, except Finland, are the countries of NATO, that put Russia in extremely diffucult situation.

Confrontation of interests of the alliance and the Russian Federation takes place. The USA insists on that Russia threatens artic territories of the alliance and plans superseding of other countries from this region. In this connection there is increase of military forces of NATO in the Artic, and in particularly along NSR.

The number of countries, wishing to use and explore NSR, rises year after year. In May, 2013, Japan, China and Singapore become the countries – observers of the Artic Council. The countries of the European Union and other countriles of the Asian-Pacific Region are also active interested in main waterway. As we can see, Russia is not the only country, making claims for using of NSR and exploring of the Artic. It should pay attention to Article 5.1 of the Merchant Shipping Code of the Russian Federation, which esablishes water area of NSR. Analyzing the text of the article, we will shee that the border is not a single immovable line, but territories, through which NSR may pass. So, NSR does not have single fixed route, the article just defines coordinates of localities, where the route may pass. It is connected with that streams of NSR are changeable and their direction depends in large part on external factors: freezing of seas, weather and other hydrological and climate conditions. Analyzing the geographical positions of NSR, it becomes clear, that most part of the water area is constantly situated in the borders of the territorial sea (12 nauctical miles) of in the borders of the exclusive economic zone (200 nautical miles) or contitental shelf of the Russian Federation.