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52 Proceedings Summer 2016 www.uscg.mil/proceedings Aleutian Islands and through Unimak Pass. Less than 20 percent remain south of the islands, where sea states are more favorable during the Bering Sea winter storm season. Notably, the total Great Circle Route transits in 2012 rep- resent an approximate 30 percent increase from 2006 2 (see Great Circle Route Transits table). Although the total number of transits has increased, vessel types and regulatory status remain largely the same. Of the unique vessels transiting the Aleutian Islands, nearly half are not coming from or going to a U.S. port, thus engaged in innocent passage 3 and not under U.S. regulatory requirements. More than 80 percent of ships consist of container or bulk cargoes, which are not time-critical goods. Other west- ern Alaskan shipping routes include the Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea, Chukchi Sea, Beaufort Sea, and Arctic Ocean. Arctic Access Routes The Arctic, as defined by the Arctic Research and Policy Act, includes all U.S. and foreign ter- ritory north of the Arctic Circle and all U.S. ter- ritory north and west of the boundary formed by the Porcupine, Yukon, and Kuskokwim Rivers, Alaskan offshore waters are known for abundant living marine resources. However, a large number of vessels use these same waters to transport hazardous materials, petro- leum products, liquefied natural gas, minerals, and other dry cargoes. The highest concentration of vessel traffic in western Alaska is comprised of transits along the Great Circle Route on the North Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea. More than 4,500 vessel transits were recorded along this route in 2012 (see Great Circle Route Transits table), according to the 2015 Aleutian Islands Risk Assessment Summary Report. 1 Sea Lines of Communication As seen in The North Pacific Great Circle Route graphic, approximately 80 percent of those Great Circle Route tran- sits followed the preferred route, traveling north of the Commerce and Navigation Safety on the High Seas U.S. Arctic and western Alaska. by C dr h e CT or l . C I n T ron, Jr. Chief, Prevention Department U.S. Coast Guard Sector Anchorage Regions Graphic courtesy of the Nuka Research for the Aleutian Islands Risk Assessment. The North Pacific Great Circle Route Table courtesy of the Nuka Research for the Aleutian Islands Risk Assessment. Great Circle Route Transits