The paper will describe the existing regulatory systems for the offshore inthe Arctic. Drawing from offshore disasters and the responses thereto bythe Coastal States around the world the paper will point to the arguments forand against international regulation of Arctic offshore areas. Organizations that might create such regulation are considered such as theArctic Council, the International Maritime Organization, The InternationalRegulators Forum, the oil company operators. Current debates concerninginternational regulation such as that of the EU (October 2011) proposal tocreate EU regulations for the offshore and the opposition by the Great Britainwill be reviewed, as will be the Helix Mutual Aid solution in the Gulf ofMexico, the new Canadian filing requirements for Arctic Oil and Gas (December2012) and others.


The Titanic sank in the icy waters off the eastern coast of Canada in1912. It was only two years later that first steps were taken to put inplace an International Convention focusing on safety of life at sea(SOLAS). This Convention specifies standards for construction, equipment, and operation of ships. It includes a number of articles covering suchmatters as lifesaving appliances, radio communications, safety navigation, carriage of cargoes, carriage of dangerous goods, management for the safeoperation of ships and measures to enhance maritime safety.

The 1978 sinking of the Amoco Cadiz resulted in the 1982 ParisMemorandum of Understanding on Port State Control (Paris MOU) as aninternational effort to better regulate flags of convenience, enabling ports todetain vessels found to not comply with international safety standards. The international community has responded to the threat of pollution with anumber of Conventions addressing the various issues arising from pollutioncaused by ships. In addition to Conventions addressing pollution itselfthere are other Conventions which focus on safety issues, which at least inpart are intended to manage the risks of being at sea.

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