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53 Summer 2016 Proceedings www.uscg.mil/proceedings Alaska; all contiguous seas, including the Arctic Ocean and the Beaufort, Bering, and Chukchi Seas; and the Aleutian chain. Vessel transits in the Russian Arctic have varied from 41 ves- sels in 2011 to as many as 71 in 2013. The numbers went down to 53 in 2014, but the outlook is for an annual increase in vessels transiting the Northern Sea Route as Russian oil and gas production in the Arctic comes online and more products are shipped to Asia. 4 Similar to the Russian Arctic, Canadian traffic "over the top" is possible from June to November, depending on the movement of unpredictable ice in the Canadian archipelago. According to U.S. Coast Guard records, the first bulk carrier transited the Northwest Passage in 2013 under icebreaker escort. In 2014, the first bulk carrier made it across the Northwest Passage unescorted. In recent years, Northwest Passage transits have been on a downward trend. As Arctic ice continues to recede, this trend is expected to reverse. 5 If melting trends continue, the idea of a transpolar route from Iceland to Anchorage, Alaska, seems feasible. Bering Strait Bering Strait traffic is mostly predictable. In general, ves- sels transit near the shoreline — Russian traffic on the Rus- sian side, U.S. and Canadian traffic on the U.S. side. Vessels traveling to the Red Dog lead and zinc mine near Kivalina, Alaska, typically transit to Asia and cross the Russian/U.S. boundary. In addition, mining resupply ships occasionally transit from Seattle, Washington, to the Pevek mine in the Russian East Siberian Sea. Recent U.S. oil exploration in the Arctic boosted annual activity beyond the steady rise in traffic through the Bering Strait, peaking at 344 transits in U.S. waters alone in 2013. Although the number of transits through the Bering Strait dropped in 2014, total transits jumped to 540 in 2015. Vessel activity has the potential to increase due to Russian invest- ment in the Arctic and ecological pleasure cruise ship transits through U.S. waters. 6 Other Navigational Concerns Alaska has more than 200 federally recognized Alaska native tribal governments. The same waters used for commercial navigation provide critical food resources for Alaska natives who rely on sub- sistence fishing and hunting for survival. Some subsistence journeys take Alaska natives as far as 50 nautical miles offshore in small open boats. For this reason, the U.S. Coast Guard works with The Arctic boundary line. U.S. Coast Guard graphic. Northwest Passage transits. In recent years, Northwest Passage transits have been on a downward trend, but as Arctic ice continues to recede, this trend is expected to reverse. U.S. Coast Guard graphic. Kivalina, Alaska; and Pevek, Russia. U.S. Coast Guard graphic.