Proceedings Summer 2016
study with an expanded geographic scope and
a proposed vessel routing system — an 816-nau-
tical-mile-long by 4-nautical-mile wide, two-
way vessel route in U.S. waters from Unimak
Pass on the Aleutian chain through the Bering
Strait. The routing system also has an extension
toward Russia in the vicinity of St. Lawrence
Island and four different 8-nautical-mile pre-
The waters off western Alaska are resource-
rich, often hazardous, and of immense impor-
tance to maritime commerce and Alaska native
subsistence. The U.S. Coast Guard is committed
to ensuring safe navigation, collaboration with
port stakeholders, and other initiatives. As ves-
sel traffic continues to evolve in western Alaska,
the U.S. Coast Guard will remain ready to be a
part of sound solutions.
About the author:
CDR Hector Cintron has served in the U.S. Coast Guard for
28 years. CDR Cintron has served in many capacities, most
notably as the Prevention Department chief of Coast Guard
Sector Anchorage, and has received five Coast Guard com-
mendation medals, one joint service achievement medal, and
four Coast Guard achievement medals, in addition to other
personal and unit awards.
More information about the 2015 Aleutian Islands Risk Assess-
ment Summary Report is available at: www.aleutiansriskas-
Innocent passage is the right of non-interference for a vessel tran-
siting inbound, outbound, or through a foreign territorial sea. For a vessel to enjoy
this right, it must be engaged in "passage" that is "innocent." "Passage" means a
continuous and rapid traversing of the territorial sea, but may include anchoring in
the course of ordinary navigation. Passage is "innocent" so long as it is not prejudi-
cial to the peace, good order, or security of the coastal state. More information about
innocent passage is available under Section 3 of the United Nations Convention
on the Law of the Sea at: www.un.org/depts/los/convention_agreements/texts/
unclos/unclos_e.pdf. With respect to the U.S. territorial sea, it means the waters,
12 nautical miles wide, adjacent to the coast of the U.S. and seaward of the territorial
sea baseline, per 33 CFR 2.22.
More information about Arctic vessel traffic off the coast of Russia is available
at the Northern Sea Route Information Office at: www.arctic-lio.com/node/229.
The "10-Year Projection of Maritime Activity in the U.S. Arctic Region" report of
the Committee on the Marine Transportation System is available at: www.cmts.
The U.S. Coast Guard will publish the draft port access route study via the Federal
Register with an additional comment period. Public comments are available by
going to www.Regulations.gov, then searching for "USCG-2014-0941."
Precautionary areas are "a routing measure comprising an area within defined
limits where ships must navigate with particular caution and within which the
direction of traffic flow may be recommended," as defined by the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration. More information about precautionary areas in
U.S. waters is available at: https://catalog.data.gov/dataset/precautionary-areas-
federally recognized tribes and federal subsistence co-man-
agement groups to coordinate planned operations that pro-
mote safe maritime practices.
For example, in November 2010, the U.S. Coast Guard began
a port access route study
of the Bering Sea and Bering Strait
and solicited public comment on the need for a vessel rout-
ing system in the region. Public comments overwhelmingly
supported some form of vessel routing system, but cau-
tioned that specific effects could not be determined until a
vessel route was proposed.
Based on the public comments, the U.S. Coast Guard deter-
mined the scope of the port access route study needed to
expand, so they developed a proposed vessel route. In 2014,
the U.S. Coast Guard reannounced the port access route
Port access route study routing measures. U.S. Coast Guard graphic.