Mawuli has been studying the behaviour of oil in ice and noticed there is a lack of research into how adequately Canada is prepared to deal with an oil spill off our northern coastlines. There is more open ice for longer periods of time in Arctic waters which has already led to an increase in marine traffic. Russia has started to invest heavily in high arctic shipping and even though China is a non-Arctic country they are turning their attention north as a way to speed up shipping times and reduce costs. There is even an increase in cruise ship traffic.
His paper outlines a model that can be used for contingency and response planning and combines expert knowledge with input from stakeholders. Part of that response includes mitigating oil in marine waters through biodegradation by naturally occurring microbes.
The paper was presented at the annual conference of the International Association of Maritime Economists (IAME) and we were pleased to see the recognition Mawuli Afenyo received for his work. Freelance broadcaster Don Hill talked with him about the papers and about the challenges Canada faces in dealing with the potential of oil spills in the Arctic.