CHINA IS PLANNING  to use the sea route linking the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans through the Arctic polar waters and has  published a guide to promote commercial navigation state media reported Wednesday, April 20.

nw 1The  sea route known as the  “North-West passage” and passing through northern Canada, can reduce travel between China the world’s leading trading power and the eastern United States, avoiding the Panama Canal.

European  navigators  explored the  waterway for centuries, but their expeditions in the hostile waters often  suffered tragic ends.

An artist's impression of HMS Eribus

An artist’s impression of HMS Eribus

Sir John Franklin’s two ships. HMS Eribus and HMS Terror, were lost in 1845, leading to one of the largest  maritime searches in history. Canadian underwater archeologists located one of the vessels, virtually intact in 2014.

The sea route is impassable for much of the year, but with progressive climate warming and melting of sea ice, the passage has become accessible.

Beijing now sees an opportunity to adapt its global trade flows. The Chinese maritime safety administration  has just published a 356-page guide with charts, maps  and descriptions of sea ice conditions along the North-West passage, reports  the China Daily

“Chinese flagged  ships will sail this route in the future,” Liu Pengfei, administration spokesman was quoted as saying.

“When this route is used on a regular basis,  it will modify global maritime transport and will have a considerable influence on international trade, the global economy, capital flows and the exploitation of resources,” said Liu.

Canada considers the North-West passage as part of its internal waters a position contested by other countries, for which the passage is an international strait.

Courtesy of NewsRoomPanama