When sailing in the Gulf of Bothnia, which is full of ice, many additional concerns compared to sailing in a plain liquid sea will occur. The thickness of the ice affects the speed and the fuel consumption of the vessel, while there is always the risk of getting stuck. Sea Traffic Management, through the Winter Navigation Service, aims to give a solution to this problems and help ships navigate safely.
Is Polar Code enough to ensure safety & environmental protection of seafarers, passengers and Arctic people? The majority (74%) of the participants in a quick SAFETY4SEA Poll replied no, while just 26% are satisfied with the application of the Code. But what lies behind this negative perception toward Polar Code?
The Finnish Transport Agency published instructions for winter navigation in collaboration with the industry, shipping companies, charterers, vessels, icebreakers, pilots and vessel traffic services. During winter navigation ships are facing more risks than when sailing in ice-free waters.
‘Safe maritime operations under extreme conditions: the Arctic’ is a research project that is developing an innovative and integrated risk-based approach to safe Arctic navigation, ship design and operation. SEDNA has a global consortium, with 13 partners from 6 different countries, including China. It has already been launched since June 2017 and it is expected to be completed in May 2020.
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Coast Survey announced launch of hydrographic expeditions through July and August to discover what lies underneath the water’s surface. Currently only 4.1% of the US maritime Arctic has been charted to modern international navigation standards.
Winter ice conditions in addition to Arctic region’s ecosystem sensitivity to any human interference have always been harshening vessels’ navigation through Arctic shipping routes. However, as global warming started vanishing arctic ice, new shipping routes opened. Currently, the Arctic trading has opened new frontiers.
Heavy ice conditions along Canada’s east coast during spring 2017 presented hazardous conditions for the maritime industry at a time of year when vessels typically do not need to contend with sea ice. Greater ice concentrations and a thicker ice pack than are typical of this area created the anomalous ice cover, according to a study by the American Geophysical Union.
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