Academic lunch: Policing the Arctic Ocean
Introduction by Professor Tor-Geir Myhrer, Politihøgskolen.
Please note: The presentation will be held in Norwegian
Polisiær virksomhet i Nordishavet - (Rettslige) muligheter og ansvar
Policing the Arctic Ocean - Possibilities and responsibilities
The sea is a highway for commerce, but smugglers transporting prohibited substances or irregular migrants also use it. There are also many examples of criminal attacks on the peaceful and legitimate use of the sea: Highjacking of ships, taking hostages, terrorist attacks on ships and oil/grass producing installations, and piracy.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report from 2014 holds it likely that Arctic Ocean will be nearly ice-free in September around year 2050. Combined with technological progresses this will probably increase boththe travelling and exploiting of resources in the Arctic Ocean. But it will also make the area more exposed to crime. Given the size, it will take enormous resources to establish an efficient policing of the area. There are also legal difficulties. Even on the territorial sea the right to innocent passage creates limitations for preventive policing. Outside the territorial sea, the possibility to police the activity depends primarily on the maritime zone, then on what kind of crime one suspects, and last, what action is needed. The legal possibility to prevent crimes is limited.
From a national point of view, it is also a question which agency shall do the policing. Why should preventing and combating crimes be a task for the Navy and not the police when it occurs outside the territorial border? Knowledge of legal procedure is more important there, given the possible burden on relations with foreign states.