The Ice Navigation and Seamanship Handbook (eBook)

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Published Date

July 2019

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The Ice Navigation and Seamanship Handbook (eBook)

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This publication provides a detailed explanation of every aspect of seamanship and safe navigation in ice. It equips seafarers with both a practical and conceptual understanding of this challenging environment. Topics covered include types of ice and where they may be encountered, STCW Convention compliant crew training, the Polar Code and pollution response.

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This book identifies the world’s major ice regions, with maps illustrating ice routes and seasonal particulars. It describes how ship handling procedures may differ according to ice characteristics. Ice Class notation is detailed and diagrams illustrate design, construction and operating considerations of these ships. The book contains useful checklists for both the deck and engine departments. Sources and methods of acquiring ice and weather information are detailed according to ship type and the technology available.

Chapter 1 Ice Types
1.1 Fresh Water Ice
1.2 Sea Ice
1.3 Glacial Ice
1.4 Fast Ice
1.5 Pack Ice
1.6 Ice Movement (Drift)
1.7 Ice Deterioration and Change


Chapter 2 The Ice Regions
2.1 Regional Polar Ice Differences
2.2 Northern Ice
2.3 Southern Ice
2.4 Individual Ice Regions


Chapter 3 Regulations and the Polar Code
3.1 International Agreements and Regulations
3.2 The Polar Code
3.3 Regional and Local Regulations
3.4 Sovereignty


Chapter 4 Ice Class Ships
4.1 Classification Standards
4.2 Ice Design Considerations
4.3 Class Notations for ‘Winterisation’ and De-Icing
4.4 Double-Acting Ships
4.5 Icebreaking Propulsion Plant
4.6 Mooring Equipment
4.7 Insurance
4.8 Icebreaker Construction
4.9 Oblique Icebreaker Design


Chapter 5 Preparing a Ship for Ice
5.1 Ballast and Trim
5.2 Fresh Water Tanks and Fire Lines
5.3 Main Engine
5.4 Sea Inlets
5.5 Garbage and Waste
5.6 Searchlights
5.7 Deck Protection
5.8 Ice Accretion and Stability
5.9 De-Icing
5.10 Safety
5.11 Checklist for the Deck Department
5.12 Checklist for the Engine Department


Chapter 6 Forecasting and Reporting Ice Conditions
6.1 International and SOLAS Requirements for Ice Reporting
6.2 Ice Forecasts and Ice Charts
6.3 The Egg Code
6.4 Colour Coding Ice Charts
6.5 Ice Symbols and Indications Associated with International Ice Charts
6.6 Iceberg Coding and Message Preparation
6.7 Ice Reporting and Forecast Systems in the Baltic Sea
6.8 Ice Reporting and Forecast Systems in the Arctic Region
6.9 Ice Reporting and Forecast Systems in the Antarctic Region
6.10 Use of Satellite Imagery for Onboard Navigation
6.11 Private Sources of Information/Satellite Data


Chapter 7 Preparing the Crew for Ice
7.1 Training for Ice Conditions
7.2 Clothing
7.3 Accidents and Emergencies
7.4 General Crew Comfort
7.5 Wind Chill
7.6 Medical


Chapter 8 Navigation in Ice
8.1 Passage Planning
8.2 Watchkeeping Practices
8.3 Evidence of Ice
8.4 Navigation in Pack Ice
8.5 Visibility and Heating
8.6 Position Fixing in Ice Conditions
8.7 Radar Use in Ice Conditions
8.8 Compasses


Chapter 9 Ship handling
9.1 Entering the Ice
9.2 Approaching the Ice Edge
9.3 Underway in Ice
9.4 Pinch Points
9.5 Beset in Ice
9.6 Anchoring in Ice
9.7 Inland Navigation: Canal and Lock Systems
9.8 Damage in Ice
9.9 Berthing in Ports with Ice


Chapter 10 Ship Operations in Ice
10.1 Cargo Operations (Liquid/Gas)
10.2 Cargo Operations (Bulk/General)
10.3 Passenger Ships


Chapter 11 Working with Icebreakers
11.1 Icebreaker Assistance for Beset Ships
11.2 Ice Convoys
11.3 Requirements for Escorted Ships
11.4 Towing in Ice
11.5 Nuclear Powered Icebreakers
11.6 The World Icebreaker and Icebreaking Supply Fleet


Chapter 12 Pollution in Ice Covered Waters
12.1 Introduction and Overview
12.2 Incidents and Accidents in Ice Covered Waters
12.3 Spill Scenarios
12.4 Oil Fate and Behaviour
12.5 Detection and Spill Surveillance
12.6 Response Strategies – Recovery and Removal
12.7 International Agreements, Liabilities and Regulations
12.8 Regional Spill Response Resources
12.9 Response Planning Resources

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 titles are developed using scripts developed by technical experts that are peer reviewed within work groups. Typically, they seek to improve understanding of the regulations, recommendations and guidelines issued by Industry.

Witherbys staff have significant expertise in the fields of navigation and hazardous cargoes as well as in the presentation of complex subjects in a graphic and easy to understand manner.


BIMCO is the world’s largest direct-membership organisation for shipowners, charterers, shipbrokers and agents. In total, around 60% of the world’s merchant fleet is a BIMCO member, measured by tonnage (weight of the unloaded ships).

The organisation has NGO status and is based in Copenhagen, Denmark, with offices in Athens, Singapore and Shanghai.

With around 1900 member companies across 120 countries – from the largest shipowners in the world to small local port agents and law firms, BIMCO represents a wide range of maritime companies and organisations.

BIMCO’s goal is to secure a level playing field for the global shipping industry. 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 an expression of that aim.

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

Customer Reviews

A reference tool and an operational handbook that is as useful in the classroom as it is in the wheelhouse. Review by Drummond Fraser, Senior Policy Advisor.
Review by Drummond Fraser, Senior Policy Advisor, Transport Canada, Marine Safety and Security

BIMCO’s Ice Navigation and Seamanship Handbook is an indispensable resource for operators and regulators alike. It is at once comprehensive in scope yet focused in its attention to detail; a reference tool and an operational handbook that is as useful in the classroom as it is in the wheelhouse.

At over 400 pages in length every chapter feels essential, and its contents are presented in such a way to be consumed from front to back, or instead in discrete stand-alone blocks of information. Every chapter is also incredibly accessible, taking often complex topics and presenting them in a clear straightforward way, while being complemented with countless high-resolution photos and graphics.

As a regulator, its reassuring to note that this Handbook is rooted in a recognition of the range of unique risks – not just ice – that ships (and their personnel) will inevitably encounter when operating throughout the Arctic and Antarctic Regions, as well as in other lower latitudes prone to ice cover for parts of the year. Indeed, while the presence of ice may serve as a common denominator, this Handbook never treats the geographic expanse covered as being homogenous, but rather recognizes and expands upon in length the myriad of regional differences – be they ship design, environmental hazards, legislative regimes or other – across the Arctic States and elsewhere.

BIMCO’s Ice Navigation and Seamanship Handbook is a welcomed contribution to the literature on polar shipping, and one I’d recommend to both seasoned seafarers and to casual observers looking to expand their knowledge on a subject with burgeoning global interest.
(Posted on 29/10/2020)

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