The key ports affected are those in the Liaodong Bay area, from Dalian to Huludao, Panjin, Bayuquan, Jinzhou and Dandong. The ice season in the area is from around December 15th every year to March 15th of the next year, with late January and early February being the most severe period, Huatai Insurance Agency highlighted.
According to ice condition and sea temperature forecast published by National Marine Environmental Forecasting Center, from 27 January to 2 February 2018, the max floating ice area is 65-75nm; general thickness of ice is 10-20cm and max thickness of ice is around 35cm.
Firstly, Huatai advises the following:
- Masters should check as per checklist of navigation in ice seas, and maintain the hull structure, navigation equipment/VHF/AIS and fire main in ice environment,
- Crews should keep proper lookout on ice condition around the vessel en route and anchor chain condition during mooring at ice anchorage, and collect local meteorological information from the internet or the ship agent. As a matter of fact, during ice season, one of the most frequent kind of marine incidents at north Liaodong Bay is loss of anchor, which may well bring anchor removal cost claim at later stage.
- Maneuver of the propellers/rudder in ice with greater caution is necessary to avoid damage to H&M due to solid ice cap.
- Vessels proceeding to North Liaodong Bay in ballast condition need to be alerted of the risk of lower or higher seawater inlets chocked with ice causing damage of M.E. And when entering the ports following big tugs, it is better to keep a proper distance from the tugs.
- Deck equipment condition should be properly covered by freezing proof materials and constantly checked, especially sensitive equipment such as deck-mounted winches.
- Drain the pipelines, fresh water lines and fire hoses to avoid frozen damage.
- Crews should be clothed sufficiently to ensure safety and good seamanship and to prevent elder crew’s cardio- cerebro vascular diseases even unfortunate sudden death in cold winter season. In every winter season, we will handle a few seafares’ severe stroke illness or sudden death cases related to cardio- cerebro vascular diseases.
- Keep cargo holds heating equipment properly operated in order to ensure liquid cargo temperature meet the cargo operation requirements as per the voyage instruction to avoid discharging or loading operation difficulties in icy environment.