The “Northwest Passage” is a historical sea route in the North of Canada passing through the Arctic Ocean. It is a representation of the effort employed by explorers to find a route between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The route is one of the world’s severest maritime challenges located in the north of Arctic Circle. The Passage also comprises several deep channels through Arctic Islands of Canada. The passage decreases the time taken by ships to travel between Europe and Asia. Only the ships that are strengthened to withstand probable impacts of ice can access the Northwest Passage. The Passage can also be accessed during the warmest period of the year.
Sovereignty issues have risen among the countries in the Artic Sea and its surrounding areas. The Arctic countries are Canada, the United States, Russia, Norway, and Denmark. The countries have had sovereignty disputes over the rights to control the Arctic sea and any activities carried out in the region such as Arctic oil, commercial shipping through the Arctic, and endangered Arctic species such as the polar bear, gas and mineral exploration, and increased military activities causing competition among the Arctic democracies. One of the reasons for the increased human activities in the Arctic region I because of the diminishing of the Arctic Sea ice bringing concerns on the future of the regions.
The opening of the Northwest Passage will become a viable sea transportation option between Europe and Asia. Canada considers the Northwest Passage to be within its territorial waters. Since 1880s, the Canadian government has been controlling the region. On the other hand, the United States and other Arctic countries argue that travelling should be unhampered and free through the route since it is in international waters. The opening of the Northwest Passage to the other countries will ease the tension and competition of the Arctic route. Canada will cease its claim of the Northwest Passage and withdraw its military from some of the areas of the Arctic region.