Collaborative effort for Arctic icebreaking gains traction

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A proposal to use private and foreign ships to help fill the demand for commercial icebreaking is gaining traction among Arctic stakeholders.

Alaska Public Media reports Polar Institute Director Mike Sfraga says the concept would be similar to ride-hailing services like Uber, but instead it would be a commercial ship calling for support vessels to help cross Arctic waters.

Sfraga said at a roundtable discussion in the U.S. Senate last week that the model would call for a collaborative effort among northern countries to forge an Arctic pathway paid by commerce fees.

U.S. lawmakers have supported the construction of new Coast Guard icebreakers, but the funding has been stalled in the ongoing debate over a southern border wall.