This is coolbert:
The Arctic is heating up again. Figuratively as well as literally.
"Canadian and U.S. icebreakers to map uncharted Arctic waters"
American and Canadian icebreakers, working in tandem and in a cooperative manner, making depth soundings - - charting the abysmal depths of the Arctic Ocean, both sides NOW in concert, even fully realizing that the data as gathered may lead to future disputes! This "mapping" occurring right now - - as we speak! A quasi-military expedition, the American Coast Guard representing American interests.
"A pair of red-hulled icebreakers – one Canadian, one American – will batter their way north into uncharted, ice-infested waters next week, seeking to buttress claims to the vast undersea riches at the top of the world."
Assets available for this sort of "mapping" mission are indeed sparse?
"Neither country has even a single polar-class icebreaker, unlike the nuclear-powered fleet of Russian vessels that are capable of slicing a path to the North Pole."
"In the thinning summer ice, the Canadian and American ships will take turns clearing a path on the month-long mapping expedition"
* Mapping and charting of the ocean bottom in Arctic waters is anything but routine, even in modern times! What is at question here is determining the exact dimensions of the continental shelf and sedimentary deposits!
* The U.S. and Canada are actually in dispute over Arctic waters, this mission being one of many that eventually will result in a clarification over "territorial" underwater claims!
* American submarines have for many decades carried out a clandestine survey of the Arctic Ocean, data that will not be shared with Canada!
"the reams of undersea mapping data collected by U.S. nuclear submarines, which prowled under the Arctic ice for decades during the Cold War, won't be made available to Canada as it prepares its Arctic claim."
[Those reams of data too as collected over the years by the "ice island" U.S. military "bases" is public knowledge now. Some sort of exchange, strongly promoted by VP Al Gore occurred between the Russians and U.S. during the Clinton administration?]
* Canada too has a special interest in the fabled Northwest Passage, Arctic waters disputed as being OF AN INTERNATIONAL NATURE, CONTRARY TO CANADIAN CLAIMS!!
"Russian icebreakers, on charter, routinely carry tourists through the Northwest Passage claimed by Canada."
"it [United States] dismisses Ottawa's argument that the Northwest Passage is an internal waterway rather than an international strait"
The Arctic - - is "heating up" - - in a variety of ways - - militarily too. Unanticipated just a few years ago? NOW, a "hot" topic!