A couple of organizational structures were required to ensure a clear and consistent focus in INSROP's activities. To coordinate the various opinions of the three national bodies listed above, INSROP established a Steering Committee of Sponsors (SCS). Presiding over this committee is Yohei Sasagawa, chair of The Nippon Foundation. At the same time, INSROP set up a Joint Research Committee to coordinate specific research details and issues and to propose and adjust research plans.
The SOF has established a Japan Committee for the Northern Sea Route Project (JANSROP), headed by chair Yuzuru Fujita, Professor Emeritus of University of Tokyo. Consisting of prominent persons active in the fields of shipbuilding, shipping, meteorology, energy and polar research, this committee is responsible for promoting progress in the INSROP international collaborative project. In parallel with its work on the INSROP project, JANSROP is pressing ahead with survey and research effort on optimum design of NSR cargo vessels. This project enjoyed the benefits of extensive studies on icebreaking oil tankers for transport of energy resources in the Beaufort Sea as a springboard for Japan's ongoing development of polar-sea shipping technologies, while continuing to build on the results of INSROP's navigation technology.
JANSROP has conducted a wide range of valuable projects, including the development of vessels optimized for NSR navigation; analysis of the performance of propellers for ice-transiting vessels and research on the interference between ice and the propellers; research on the interference between the ice pack and ocean waves; analysis of actual ice data; and prediction of ice-floe behaviors. In 1995, to compare these research results with actual in-site data, JANSROP chartered the icebreaking cargo ship M/V Kandalaksha, owned by Murmansk Shipping Co. in Russia, and conducted an experimental voyage via the NSR with Russian crew, together with Japanese, Russian and Canadian researchers. This mission gathered basic data for the establishment of safe and efficient NSR navigation. This sea trial was also able to confirm that a short route between Yokohama and the port of Kirkenes in Norway could be negotiated, providing in-depth experience and understanding of the state of the natural environment in the Arctic Ocean.
A detailed discussion of INSROP is provided in Appendix 1. Here we offer a brief overview.
INSROP consisted of two phases: Phase I, which was executed between 1993 and 1995; and Phase II, which covered the years 1997 and 1998. During the interim phase of 1996, an international evaluating committee was established, consisting of a neutral assembly of learned persons. This committee examined and evaluated the results of Phase I, then consulted with respect to the necessity of Phase II, directions in research and the order of precedence of the various research issues to determine the details of the plan for Phase II.
Phase I research activities were divided into the following four sub-programs of the NSR. Each of the issues examined and mooted by the JRC was entrusted to specialists from the participating countries, who conducted individual survey and research efforts.
* Sub-program II: Natural conditions and Ice Navigation
* Sub-program II: Environmental Factors
* Sub-program III: Trade and Commercial Shipping Aspects
* Sub-program IV: Political, Legal and Strategic Factors
These individual research issues were submitted to the FNI, which serves as the secretariat of INSROP, within a given time-frame as a discussion paper. Outside specialists were then called upon to evaluate and deliberate on the details of the research. A revised version of the document, containing additions, revisions and comments by these outside specialists, was then published as an INSROP working paper (WP).
In Phase II, the research performed in Phase I was supplemented and most of the results of the research conducted by INSROP are collated to form a geographical information system about the NSR, called the INSROP Geographic Information System (INSROP GIS).