International Symposium
11-12 Jun 2015 Nantes (France)


New maritime routes are one of the major issues of the 21st century. Admittedly, the current works about the Arctic region are pertinent but must be completed. Routes taken by ships depend on economic, geopolitical or technical factors. Under various external influences (economical or political), these routes evolve, disappear or emerge. It is thus important to assess the consequences of the evolution of the uses of the sea, for example to appreciate how the routes resist these pressures or, on the contrary, could be weakened or jeopardized by new possibilities and ecological and strategical needs.

The Maritime History reveals the profit-generating aims of the first shipments. The spice route is a perfect example. That is reflected today in the numerous projects aiming at exploiting ressources that were previously inaccessible. The development of human activities and new routes, formerly impassible, represents a major shake-up in the way the maritime business is conducted. Nowadays, an alternative to the Suez Canal seems possible. Passing along the Siberian Coast, a new shortcut between China and Europe could save over 13 days of journey. Here is for example an option with many different complications.

Many factors increase the risk of occurrence of severe and major accidents : a sporadic human presence, the extremely low number of ports or the limited navigation... The risks multiply significantly for Man and its Environment : oil disasters, collision, grounding, loss of human life... The number of threats grow as well : because of the presumed lack of effective authority in such areas, could piracy, illegal immigration or trafficking of human beings become real?

Multidisciplinary approaches are rather rare in assessing the balance of a very large number of interests. Each new route has distinct characteristics, which complicate the current and identified issues of maritime navigation and its purpose. Thus, the symposium must be a forum for the expression of the plurality of the concerned matters. Biologists, economists, lawyers, historians, sociologists, geographers, IT experts, shipowners, insurers... all are called to make possible a global view of the new maritime routes and their emerging challenges.



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