The Ice Navigation and Seamanship Handbook (eBook)

Look Inside

Published Date

July 2019

Also available in other formats:

The Ice Navigation and Seamanship Handbook (eBook)

(Excludes any applicable taxes)

This 360-page publication provides a detailed explanation of every aspect of seamanship and navigation in ice. It will allow seafarers to acquire the necessary knowledge and understanding of this challenging environment which, when combined with practical experience, will enable safe navigation in ice.


Topics covered include types of ice and where they may be encountered, preparing the ship and crew for ice conditions, ship handling and navigation in ice, the Polar Code and other regulations, working with icebreakers, and pollution response.

Be the first to review this product

BIMCO members, please enter BIMCO as Promotional Code during checkout for 20% off


This edition of ‘The Ice Navigation and Seamanship Handbook’ supersedes ‘The Ice Navigation Manual’ published in 2010 by Witherby Publishing and the ‘BIMCO Ice Handbook’ published in 2005 by The Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO).


The book identifies the world’s major ice regions, with maps illustrating ice routes and seasonal variations of ice thickness and extent. It describes the appearance and characteristics of the various types of ice and explains how shiphandling procedures may differ according to type.


A separate chapter sets out the applicable international agreements and regulations (with particular emphasis on the Polar Code), as well as regional and local legislation.


An explanation is provided of ice class ships and how they are categorised by Class and under the Polar Code. The book looks at different design, construction and operating considerations.


The book looks in detail at how to prepare a ship for ice conditions. It lists the key items to be considered and provides useful checklists for both the deck and engine departments.


A crucial aspect of navigation in ice is obtaining adequate ice information to support decision making throughout the voyage. A separate chapter looks at sources and methods of acquiring ice and weather information, according to the ship, its location and the technology available.


The book also looks at crew training and qualification, as required under the STCW Convention and Code. It discusses correct clothing, dangers of exposure and hazards to health.


The chapter on navigation in ice provides invaluable practical guidance on preparing and executing the passage plan. It discusses watchkeeping and bridge procedures, position fixing, use of radar and ice accretion. This is followed by a chapter on shiphandling in ice, with emphasis on approaching and entering the ice, manoeuvring, berthing and anchoring.


Advice is also provided on working with icebreakers and pollution response.


The book is illustrated throughout with colour photographs and diagrams.


Introduction ix

Acknowledgements xi


1 Ice Types 3

1.1 Fresh Water Ice 5

1.2 Sea Ice 5

1.3 Glacial Ice 12

1.4 Fast Ice 16

1.5 Pack Ice 16

1.6 Ice Movement (Drift) 19

1.7 Ice Deterioration and Change 20


2 The Ice Regions 25

2.1 Regional Polar Ice Differences 25

2.2 Northern Ice 27

2.3 Southern Ice 32

2.4 Individual Ice Regions 34


3 Regulations 87

3.1 International Agreements and Regulations 87

3.2 The Polar Code 90

3.3 Regional and Local Regulations 100

3.4 Sovereignty 104


4 Ice Class Ships 115

4.1 Classification Standards 115

4.2 Ice Design Considerations 123

4.3 Class Notations for ‘Winterisation’ and De-Icing 128

4.4 Double-Acting Ships 128

4.5 Icebreaking Propulsion Plant 132

4.6 Mooring Equipment 133

4.7 Insurance 134

4.8 Icebreaker Construction 136

4.9 Oblique Icebreaker Design 140


5 Preparing a Ship for Ice 143

5.1 Ballast and Trim 146

5.2 Fresh Water Tanks and Fire Lines 148

5.3 Main Engine 148

5.4 Sea Inlets 149

5.5 Garbage and Waste 151

5.6 Searchlights 151

5.7 Deck Protection 151

5.8 Ice Accretion and Stability 153

5.9 De-Icing 156

5.10 Safety 158

5.11 Checklist for the Deck Department 158

5.12 Checklist for the Engine Department 161


6 Forecasting and Reporting Ice Conditions 165

6.1 International and SOLAS Requirements for Ice Reporting 165

6.2 Ice Forecasts and Ice Charts 166

6.3 The Egg Code 169

6.4 Colour Coding Ice Charts 173

6.5 Ice Symbols and Indications Associated with International Ice Charts 175

6.6 Iceberg Coding and Message Preparation 178

6.7 Ice Reporting and Forecast Systems in the Baltic Sea 179

6.8 Ice Reporting and Forecast Systems in the Arctic Region 183

6.9 Ice Reporting and Forecast Systems in the Antarctic Region 184

6.10 Use of Satellite Imagery for Onboard Navigation 186

6.11 Private Sources of Information/Satellite Data 189


7 Preparing the Crew for Ice 193

7.1 Training for Ice Conditions 193

7.2 Clothing 199

7.3 Accidents and Emergencies 203

7.4 General Crew Comfort 207

7.5 Wind Chill 208

7.6 Medical 211


8 Navigation in Ice 219

8.1 Passage Planning 219

8.2 Watchkeeping Practices 223

8.3 Evidence of Ice 225

8.4 Navigation in Pack Ice 228

8.5 Visibility and Heating 230

8.6 Position Fixing in Ice Conditions 231

8.7 Radar Use in Ice Conditions 234

8.8 Compasses 236


9 Shiphandling 241

9.1 Entering the Ice 241

9.2 Approaching the Ice Edge 242

9.3 Underway in Ice 244

9.4 Pinch Points 248

9.5 Beset in Ice 249

9.6 Anchoring in Ice 250

9.7 Inland Navigation: Canal and Lock Systems 251

9.8 Damage in Ice 253

9.9 Berthing in Ports with Ice 257


10 Ship Operations in Ice 265

10.1 Cargo Operations (Liquid/Gas) 267

10.2 Cargo Operations (Bulk/General) 269

10.3 Passenger Ships 272


11 Working with Icebreakers 277

11.1 Icebreaker Assistance for Beset Ships 279

11.2 Ice Convoys 281

11.3 Requirements for Escorted Ships 283

11.4 Towing in Ice 287

11.5 Nuclear-powered Icebreakers 292

11.6 The World Icebreaker and Icebreaking Supply Fleet 292


12 Pollution in Ice Covered Waters 295

12.1 Introduction and Overview 295

12.2 Incidents and Accidents in Ice Covered Waters 298

12.3 Spill Scenarios 301

12.4 Oil Fate and Behaviour 304

12.5 Detection and Spill Surveillance 313

12.6 Response Strategies - Recovery and Removal 316

12.7 International Agreements, Liabilities and Regulations 331

12.8 Regional Spill Response Resources 335

12.9 Response Planning Resources 342



This publication replaces the following withdrawn and out of date publications:

• The ‘BIMCO Ice Handbook’ published in 2005 by The Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO).

• ‘The Ice Navigation Manual’ published in 2010 by Witherby Seamanship International Ltd.


Navigation in ice is one of the most challenging tasks a mariner may face. The navigator is concerned with the

physical dangers of the ice and the restrictions imposed on the ship, in terms of route, speed and endurance.

The need to protect those on board, whether from the risk of collision with an iceberg or more generally from

exposure to hazardous climatic conditions, must be ever present in the mind of the navigator.


The harsh realities of icy environments are equally challenging to the mariner. Keeping a proper lookout and

maintaining a safe route through different types of ice are difficult in areas such as the polar regions, where aids

to navigation are minimal and where electronic equipment is affected by the environment.


The changing nature of the environment, due to global warming and the subsequent melting of the icecaps, has

resulted in considerable growth in maritime traffic in the polar regions. New shipping routes have opened up and

there has been increased interest in the extraction of raw materials.


The Polar Code entered into force on 1st January 2017 in recognition of the need for regulatory protection of

these vulnerable sea areas. It is designed to protect the environment from shipping, and equally to protect those

on board ships that venture to the harsh polar regions.


The SOLAS, STCW and MARPOL conventions continue to directly apply to ships and navigators operating in ice,

setting out the minimum requirements for ship design, safety, manning and environmental protection.


As with all navigation, careful preparation significantly reduces the risk of an accident. In icy environments

consideration should be given to the nature of the ice, its dangers and the regions where it is encountered, ship

handling, passage planning, crew training, and preparing the ship for the expected weather. This manual will

allow seafarers to acquire the necessary knowledge and understanding which, when combined with practical

experience, will enable safe navigation in ice.





Witherbys would like to highlight the technical expertise and assistance provided by:


Ilkka Alhoke

Tommy Berg

Pierre Claveau

Paul Cordeiro

David Dickens

Stanislas Devorsine

David House

Edward Kemp

Indrek Kivi

Keld Quistgaard

Michael Lloyd

Patrick Toomey

and the following sources of information:

Aker Arctic Technology

Minister of Public Works and Government Services of Canada

Danish Meteorological Institute

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC)

BIMCO is the world’s largest direct-membership organisation for shipowners, charterers, shipbrokers and agents. In total, around 59% of the world’s cargo fleet is a BIMCO member, measured by dead weight tonnes (DWT).

BIMCO is a ‘not for profit’ organisation with NGO status, headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark, and with offices in Athens, Shanghai and Singapore.

The organisation has around 1,900 member companies across 120 countries – including large and small shipowners, shippers, oil majors, brokers, local port agents, law firms, maritime security companies and national shipowner’s associations among others. The core of the BIMCO membership is around 800 shipowner members who combined control around 83% of containership tonnage, 59% of dry bulk tonnage and 51% of tanker tonnage (all measured by DWT).

BIMCO’s goals are to secure a level playing field for the global shipping industry and to deliver practical tools, advice and guidance to its members across the main shipping sectors. BIMCO therefore works to promote and secure global standards and regulations for the maritime sector.

The organisation’s century long effort into creating standard contracts and clauses is a strong expression of that aim. BIMCO is considered the world leader in developing standard contracts and clauses in shipping.

Title: The Ice Navigation and Seamanship Handbook (eBook)
Number of Pages: 440
Product Code: WS1665EA
Published Date: July 2019

Bought this product? Why not review it?

If you have a question about this product, please contact us directly.

Windows eBooks:


To access the eBook, you need to install our free Windows eBook Reader.

The application can be downloaded from:


Standalone eBooks are supplied with 1 licence + 1 backup and are not transferable between platforms.


Remote Desktop Services (Terminal Services) and virtual environments are not supported.


The Windows eBook Reader works with Windows XP or later OS (but not Windows RT).

See more details.


Cloud (online) eBooks:


The Cloud (online) eBooks use Microsoft Silverlight browser plugin to deliver the best possible reading experience with the ability to work in offline mode.


It is an annual subscription service (i.e. each eBook is purchased for 1 year of use).

Online licences are not transferrable to Windows or iPad (or vice-versa).


Silverlight is compatible with the major web browsers used on Windows and Mac OS X operating systems.

However it is not supported on Linux, Android, Windows RT and iPad devices and therefore the Cloud eBooks use an HTML site in these instances.

The HTML site is more restricted than the Silverlight version.


See and more details.


Note for Mac Users:


Mac users can read Windows eBooks with Boot Camp or using virtual machines such as Parallels Desktop, Virtual Box, ...

Alternatively, Cloud (online) eBooks are accessible on Mac, including the Silverlight plugin with offline mode.


Note for Linux Users:


Linux users can read Windows eBooks using a virtual PC.

Alternatively, the HTML version of the Cloud (online) eBooks is accessible.


Note for Tablet Users:


Tablets owners can use the HTML version of the Cloud (online) eBooks.


Look Inside Text