05:52 GMT +322 August 2019
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    Bering Sea

    US, Russia Propose New Two-Way Shipping Routes in Bering Strait

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States and Russia proposed a series of international shipping routes to guide vessels through the Bering Strait and Bering Sea amid an increase in Arctic traffic, the US Coast Guard said in a press release on Thursday.

    "The nations jointly developed and submitted the proposal to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to establish six two-way routes and six precautionary areas," the release said.

    The routes, located in US and Russian territorial waters off the coasts of Alaska and Russia’s Chukotka Peninsula, are intended to help ships avoid numerous shoals, reefs and islands, the release explained.

    "Over the past decade, the United States and Russia have both observed a steady increase in Arctic shipping activity," Coast Guard Navigation Standards Division chief Mike Sollosi said in the release.

    Increased commercial and recreational traffic bring the increased risk of maritime casualties, and the bilateral proposal for routing measures is designed to reduce that risk, Sollosi added.

    The release noted the routes would be voluntary, and that no additional navigation markers would be needed. In addition, the proposal would not limit commercial or sustenance fishing in the region.

    Earlier, the Treasury Department banned providing goods, services or technology for projects with Russia related to deepwater, arctic offshore or shale exploration or production.

    Russia is currently investing billions in Arctic development. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in August that the government is preparing to allocate $2.7 billion on the development of the Arctic by 2025.

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    United States, Russia, Bering Strait, Arctic
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