Since the time elapsed must be no longer than three to five hours to be useful in using remote-sensing data to determine ship routes (Smirnov, 1999), this result is more or less acceptable. It must be remembered, however, that these results were obtained on a trial basis; normally the acquisition of satellite images is requested several days in advance. This was not a problem during testing, but this requirement will impede availability of data, since data can only be acquired at certain specified times. Moreover, because the sea trial was conducted in the Kara Sea, no problems were expected or encountered in transmitting the satellite image files to the icebreaker via INMARSAT. In the Laptev Sea and adjacent waters, however, such transmission may encounter significant obstacles, which must be solved before these methods come into extensive use.
Although the potential for microwave use in remote-sensing technology is exciting, it is clear that much room for improvement remains in applying the technology to reliable monitoring of sea ice for the NSR navigation. The present situations will clearly demand the increase in polar-orbiting satellites equipped with microwave sensors such as SAR, etc. and other effective solutions.
4.3 NSR Rules and Procedures
In this section we examine the procedures and preparations that foreign shipowners are expected to follow when navigating the NSR. When a ship passes through the territorial waters of a foreign country, the ship has the right of innocent passage. Generally, under international rules, no prior request or inspection of the ship is required. Under international laws to which Russia is bound, the right of innocent passage still exists for areas considered as part of the territorial sea or high seas. In the NSR, however, Russia curtails this right.
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) endows coastal states with jurisdiction for the purpose of protecting and preserving the marine environment from pollution in the exclusive economic zone; coastal states have the right to adopt and enforce non-discriminatory laws and regulations for the prevention, reduction and control of marine pollution from vessels in ice-covered areas within the limits of the exclusive zone. Because the NSR is an environmentally sensitive area, citing the need to protect the environment according to UNCLOS, in 1982 the Russian government required all foreign vessels traversing the NSR to obtain advance permission. It also established requirements for ship structures and the experience of the crews in ice navigation; route controls; compulsory escort of ships by icebreakers; and criminal penalties for violating the regulations. In 1990 the USSR's Ministry of Merchant Marine approved the "Regulations for Navigation on the Seaway of the Northern Sea Route." These have been incorporated into the "Guide to Navigating through the Northern Sea Route," an English version of which was published in 1996 by the Ministry of Defense for the NSR Administration. This English-language document provided the basic guidelines applied to all foreign ships plying the NSR, including detailed information on matters such as navigational aids and indications of entry to straits. Also included in this guide was useful information on regulations related to the NSR and technical items for navigating polar seas. The Regulations are non-discriminatory to all ships of any nationality, being designed to ensure safe navigation as well as protection of Arctic marine environment from pollution by ships. Although in setting its own rules the Soviet government followed the example of Canada, which established the Canadian Arctic Shipping Pollution Prevention Regulations (CASPPR) with a view to protecting the Canadian Arctic environment, the above guide does not always follow international law, and in fact its international validity remains doubtful in some passages. In this section, we focus on information from extracts from "Guide to Navigating through the Northern Sea route" that deals with basic matters such as procedures required for the NSR operations, technological requirements, but we will also touch on the problems of the regulations of the Russian government with respect to international law.