The Nautical Institute has today (Wednesday April 25) launched Polar Ship Operations aimed at providing a comprehensive easy reference book for seafarers, shipowners and others who are planning to operate in that extreme environment.
There has been an increase in activity in the polar regions recently as the maritime and offshore industries respond to global warming and the need to find more sources of energy. However, as author Captain Duke Snider FNI explained, these regions used to be the domain of experienced operators and vessel owners.
The Nautical Institute seeks to fill a gap in reference material available to these novice polar ice navigators and supports the Institute’s efforts in helping to establish uniform international standards for ship bridge personnel in ice operations. Having identified a gap in the international standards, The Nautical Institute started work on the Ice Navigator Project, the aim of which is to assemble the background knowledge that exists, fill gaps that may be present, and present a globally acceptable standard of ice navigator along with a template of skills, knowledge and competencies.
Captain Snider said that the book will help those encountering multi-year or old ice and glacial ice, which is much harder than first year ice encountered in subpolar regions. “As global climate change has resulted in an increase interest in shipping in Polar Regions, such a reference gap is of paramount importance. Polar Ship Operations addresses this gap in reference material.
Captain Snider is a highly qualified ice navigator with extensive experience in the Arctic as a career officer of the Canadian Coast Guard. He has commanded icebreakers and offshore research vessels and sailed as an ice pilot on numerous vessels.
The book is laid out to familiarise the reader with the geographic, climatological and meteorological aspects of the Arctic and Antarctic; to explain the remoteness of these regions and the lack of support infrastructure. Other chapters cover the physics of ice formation and basics of ice interpretation and reporting, offering help to identify old and glacial ice, the preparation for operating in these regimes and ship handing in polar ice conditions.
In his Foreword, Rear Admiral Nigel S Greenwood CMM CD RCN MNI of the Canadian Navy said the polar regions are “paradoxically” both dangerous and vulnerable. They are very susceptible to pollution or even the disturbance of transit and provision of assistance is “incredibly sparse” so the areas demand “the epitome of self sufficiency.”
And he added: “The polar regions thus remain a false lure for the uninformed and a trap for the unwary.”
The book was launched at the 8th annual Arctic Shipping Forum held by Informa in Helsinki, less than two weeks after a report on the development of the Arctic from Lloyd’s of London and Chatham House. It predicted that an estimated $100 billion would be invested in activities in the region over the next ten years.
Shipping is bound to be a beneficiary of this activity, and The Nautical Institute believes that it calls for specialised skills and competencies which this book, the latest of its practical guides, will support.