A network of interdisciplinary scholars studying past climate change
“In 1969, an icebreaking tanker, the SS Manhattan, was commissioned by Humble Oil to transit the Northwest Passage in order to test the logistical and economic feasibility of an all-marine transportation system for Alaska North Slope crude oil. Proposed as an alternative to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, the Manhattan made two voyages to the North American Arctic and collected volumes of scientific data on ice conditions and the behavior of ships in ice. The Manhattan ultimately demonstrated the impracticality of moving crude oil using icebreaking ships.
Breaking Ice for Arctic Oil details this historic voyage, establishing its significant impact on the future of marine traffic and resource development in the Arctic and setting the stage for the current oil crisis.”
Ross Coen works at the Alaska Center for Energy and Power at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He has published numerous articles on Alaska and arctic history in the Northern Review, Alaska Magazine, Alaska History, and other publications.