harsh environment, and difficult operating conditions. Such factors as geography, climate, regulatory regime, population and its cultural base, ecology, and industrial activities combine to define this special operating system. Assessing the risk posed by shipping operations requires a full understanding of these factors and conditions as they are at present and as they may change over time.
This chapter reviews the data and information available to the committee concerning these topics and provides an initial overview of how these issues can be framed within a risk assessment of shipping operations in the Aleutians. Discussed in turn are the region’s environmental and ecological assets; its economic assets; its cultural and social values; its geology, oceanography, and climate; and its supporting maritime infrastructure.