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About this book

This book explains vessels’ ability to overcome ice on the Northern Sea Route, as well as the criteria of safe speed and maneuvering of vessels on ice. It provides a successful long-term forecast of ice navigation and reveals the dangers of sailing on the Northern Sea Route, It includes tips on how to plan and schedule voyages in the Russian Arctic.

The book develops a set of suggested routes for the period of opening and closing of the transit ice-free zone through the NSR based on the last eleven navigation seasons. It presents a method for determining the date for beginning a voyage of a vessel without ice strengthening through the NSR. It also develops a model of initial (long-term) and operational decision-making support system for vessel voyage planning and scheduling.

The main audience for the book are officers at operational and management level of competency, people planning voyages on the Northern Sea Route in the office of ship operator and in chartering department or consulting company, and participants of Ice Navigator IMO Model Courses at basic and advanced level of competency.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter

Planning a Voyage in Ice

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introductory Information

Abstract
This chapter introduces the reader to the issues of transport routes. Shipping routes connecting ports located in Europe with ports of the Far East are discussed. Attention is paid to shortening the route and voyage time due to the use of the Northern Sea Route in the Arctic and the possibility of seasonal use of ordinary vessels commonly used in areas where ice does not occur. These vessels are cheaper in construction and operation than vessels suitable for navigation in ice (having ice or polar classes) and are more competitive in the market in ice-free areas. The history of the intensity of use of the Northern Sea Route (NSR) for the purposes of transit and the import–export system of the NSR area itself and between NSR ports is presented. Attention is paid to the relations of short-term changes in the cargo volume transported on the NSR with the occurrence of world armed conflicts and the state of the world economy. The ice classes of vessels are described and vessel ability for unassisted navigation in ice. In order to be able to carry out any sea voyage in accordance with the requirements of Good Practice of Seaman and the International Maritime Organization, the vessel should have a passage plan before commencing the voyage. The phases and time frames of a typical voyage plan have been discussed. Attention was paid to the “initial” planning (3–6 months ahead) and “general” (1–3 months ahead) which concerns the time period before availability of forecasts of ice navigation conditions published by the NSR Administration. It was found that for the purpose of initial voyage planning, it is important to understand the “operational” planning principles regarding passage of vessel under real operating conditions in 1–3 day advance. The chapter identifies the main and complementary work objectives required, in case one wants to reach the goals of initial voyage planning and scheduling. It is assumed that technological progress should be taken into account through the use of algorithms for the decision support system, the formulation of data at the input of the system and the development of computer calculation principles in a commonly used spreadsheet. Also, the rule that the proposed solutions of the decision-making models and algorithms for vessel voyage planning and scheduling should not be accepted uncritically and automatically deployed to implementation is assumed. It should be possible human intervention (of person responsible for developing the plan) at every stage of voyage planning. It can be assumed that developed decision-making method and its evaluation will be multicriteria. There will not be one unambiguous solution. The correct result should take into account the criteria of the priorities adopted. The choice of the weight of these criteria should depend on knowledge and experience of the person commanding the vessel same like priorities and circumstances of navigation.
Tadeusz Pastusiak

Chapter 2. Decision Support System for Initial Planning of a Voyage on the NSR

Abstract
This chapter discusses system of initial transit voyage planning and scheduling of vessels that do not have ice strengthening of the hull through the Northern Sea Route developed by the author. Assumed that vessel should make voyage on the “there and back” way, that is, the first part of the voyage to the East and the second part of the  voyage to the West, or vice versa. Planning process concerns 2–5 months advance in time relative to date of planned beginning of voyage. General scheme of the system was presented. The system consists of numerous partial procedures, which allows to achieve information necessary to make decisions. Large number of decisive criteria and input data with uncertain values for vessel’s voyage planning decision-making model required to develop the algorithm that binds components of model and also supports the analysis on computer data processing. The qualitative and quantitative indicators were included in the system. The criteria for route selection in summer navigation season were based on ice concentration using probabilistic methods. Average values of opening and closing dates of ice-free transit zone and their standard deviations were used. Trend lines of opening and closing of the NSR seas for ice-free navigation were approximated using polynomial function of second degree obtained on basis of historical data. The diagram of speed determination of PANAMAX-type vessel was implemented in the model. Duration of ice-free navigation period for vessels without ice strengthening and limited by their draft in the shallow NSR regions is relatively short. In order to plan two consecutive voyages through the NSR on a “there and back” basis, it must be assumed that first voyage will use a network of suggested routes for opening period and will use network of suggested routes for closing the NSR for ice-free navigation. Route determination procedure that uses network of suggested transit routes for opening and closing periods of the NSR regions for ice-free navigation in the east and west directions was described in one of chapters. Principle of avoiding, as much as possible, regions of probable occurrence of extreme ice drift phenomenon was described in other chapter. Designated nets of suggested routes include statistical location of ice massifs and ice cover extent. Criterion of safe depths has already been met at the stage of determining network of suggested routes. Procedure for determining beginning date of voyage on the NSR is based on statistical data described in one of chapters. Duration of ice-free navigation for vessels without ice strengthening and limited by their draft in the shallow NSR regions is relatively short. Procedure for assessing quality of designated route variant covers length of route and probability of availability this route for ice-free navigation. Voyage cost calculation procedure uses an algorithm that takes into account fuel costs and charter costs. Decision-making module makes performance evaluation of designed route option. It determines whether received results of route plan option meet initial assumptions and whether it is possible or desirable to carry out new voyage plan next time. At this stage, human intervention is necessary, that is, decision-maker.
Tadeusz Pastusiak

Dangerous Phenomena and Hazards for Navigation

Frontmatter

Chapter 3. Dangerous Hydrometeorological Phenomena Occurring on the NSR

Abstract
This chapter discusses a number of hydrometeorological phenomena affecting safety of navigation on the NSR. Distinguished phenomena are generally not associated with ice formations. Ice formations include ice massifs and fast ice adjacent to the land. Analysis of phenomena that are not directly related to ice formations, such as very strong winds and gusts of wind, fog, hull adhesion by new ice and young ice, ice accretion on vessels constructions of offshore terminals and changes in sea level indicated that they do not pose danger to vessels navigating in transit through the Northern Sea Route. Especially when changing of vessel speed, one can improve safety of vessel. There is also no need to change route designated at initial voyage planning. Thus, the above-mentioned phenomena do not concern the subject of research undertaken at the work. On the other hand, phenomena related to occurrence of ice formations, such as ice fields and patches of multiyear ice, large anomalies of direction, speed, location or area of close ice, large anomalies of ice massifs area, ice strips and fragmented highly hummocked ice of high horizontal dimensions, thickness and hummocking making it difficult to overcome by vessels. Grounded hummock and intensive ice drift including the phenomenon of “ice rivers” should be included to dangers for shipping occurring in zones of ice formations and their surroundings, such as ice massifs and fast ice. They represent a hazard to navigation and obstacle to transit traffic of vessels and even icebreakers. Therefore, these phenomena will be examined from the point of view of safety of maritime transport and difficulties for vessel’s voyage.
Tadeusz Pastusiak

Chapter 4. Selected Dangerous Hydrological Phenomena and Voyage Planning

Abstract
This chapter is related to the selected dangerous phenomena on the NSR which affect safe voyage of the vessel of any ice/polar class. The first issue discussed in the chapter was the question of the definition of ice massifs and explained what means “disappearance” or “total disappearance” of ice massifs. This term does not mean, against appearances, that there are no threats to ships in the regions of the occurrence of ice massifs. General maps of ice massifs location were developed for winter and summer season. The phenomenon of extremely fast ice drift, also known as “ice river”, was widely discussed. This phenomenon is not well known. Its general locations along the whole NSR were presented. Mathematical relations between speed of extreme ice drift, sea-level gradient, length and width of “ice river” trough were developed. Next, this chapter presents an assessment of possibility of initial route planning based on Russian long-term forecasts of ice navigation conditions on the NSR covering time up to 2–5 months ahead. Thematic scope of these forecasts includes dates of occurrence of particular types of ice navigation, area covered with close ice (ice massifs) and anomalies of ice massifs in the selected NSR regions, date of ice cover growing and date of reaching 25–30 cm thickness of young ice in selected locations. Presented approximate predictability of forecasts of types of ice navigation conditions for all the seven NSR seas. It was found that probability of correct long-term forecasts of types of ice navigation conditions is much lower than for the beginning and end dates of ice-free zone occurrence. Assumed that areas of any form of ice should be avoided if it is possible and if it is not associated with excessive voyage time elongation. Next assumption was that the basis for planning navigation in ice, i.e. choosing and developing a voyage route, is “to avoid melting of ice, which vessel cannot overcome alone”. It has been assumed for vessels without ice strengthening that term “ice that cannot be defeated by the ship” should be equal with concept of “any form of ice” except “the first form of ice”. The criterion of “safe and the most economically efficient route designation of the planned voyage” was adopted as the basis for planning route. It has been noticed that the lightest conditions for ice navigation are “ice-free” conditions.
Tadeusz Pastusiak

Ice Navigation Conditions

Frontmatter

Chapter 5. The Impact of Ice Conditions on Maritime Transport on the NSR

Abstract
This chapter explains at first the matter of ability of a vessel to overcome ice. The basic problem facing classification societies and maritime administrations and vessel captains is to estimate safe speed of vessel. A uniform definition of this speed has not yet been developed. It can generally be assumed that this is speed at which the hull of vessel will not be damaged. The criteria for assessment of safe vessel’s speed encountered in the literature have been presented. They do not refer to the same patterns and usually include such factors as force induced by ice, weight or mass of vessel or piece of ice and speed of vessel. These are not terms that can be applied by captain or officer on watch when navigating in ice. For this reason, the author has developed the relationship of speed of vessel, at which the hull damaged will occur, and the dimensions of the ice floe/ice piece, i.e. their horizontal and vertical dimensions. Next, the author explained the ability of vessels to perform voyages on the NSR in the yearly cycles of ice cover changes and definitions of “openings in ice” that are most suitable for ice navigation. Various hydrometeorological phenomena and their influence on vessels voyages were described. It is explained that why the knowledge of impact of horizontal and vertical movement of water on changes in ice concentration allows effective current (operational) voyage planning. Summary information on safe speed of vessels, depending on ice conditions, size and ice class of vessel, was presented in tabular form. This can be used for voyage planning. Due to generalization of these rules, information should not be used by navigators directly when guiding ships in ice without having theoretical knowledge and practical experience in this area. Subsequently, the chapter presents standard and specific cases of deviation from the standard rules of guiding vessels in ice. In the chapter, how to determine beginning and end of the period of lighter ice conditions suitable for navigating vessels without ice reinforcements is explained. The moment of time, when vessels should leave the area during commencement of ice growth, was also described. The role of the human factor in the safety and economics of maritime transport in ice-covered zones was explained, i.e. what the experienced navigators constantly are looking for. At the end of the chapter, the large analysis of speed of vessels in the NSR area based on reports from vessels in the years 2011–2016 and various statistical relationships, useful for initial voyage planning, was presented.
Tadeusz Pastusiak

Scheduling of Voyage Routes

Frontmatter

Chapter 6. Routes Along Ice-Free Zone on the NSR for Vessels Without Ice Strengthening

Abstract
This chapter describes results of research of ice-free transit zone release from ice cover that is connecting the subsequent NSR seas for the east and west. The first possible route available for vessels with very small draft and separately for larger vessels requiring a minimum sea depth of 14.5 m was taken into consideration. The course of closing of transit ice-free zone during period of ice growth was also made. The only significant difference to these runs was the possibility of passing shallow Laptev Strait or necessity of using more deep Sannikov Strait. For this reason, the archipelago of the New Siberian Islands, where both straits are located, will constitute main restriction for transit shipping of vessels with a deeper draft. Networks of suggested routes for opening and closing transit ice-free zone, including minimum sea depths, have been developed and presented on maps. Each route was assigned the probability of repeatability of their course in future. The decision-maker on board vessel or in the office of the ship’s operator may decide on the selection of the route option based on his own knowledge, experience and knowledge of the hydrometeorological conditions occurring in the current year. Network of suggested routes reduces risk of accidental incorrect route selection. In consequence, it reduces probability of having to change the route option during voyage. Such change would result in higher voyage costs for a vessel and consequently loss of profits. Average length of routes for particular variants and their standard deviation was described and presented by means of graphs. Statistics with average values, standard deviations, medians and quartiles were included in the tables. It was found the routes taking into account minimum depth of sea of 14.5 m significantly delayed opening time for ice-free transit of larger vessels, which was even up to three weeks. Based on results of the studies, the zones with a certain probability of existence of ice-free transit zone at the peak of navigation seasons were developed. Same time, the regions of the most difficult ice navigation conditions during the peak of navigation season were presented. The research established a general rule—the closer the route to the continental coast, the more probably the ice-free zone to occur.
Tadeusz Pastusiak

Chapter 7. Dates When Seas Open and Close for Ice-Free Navigation

Abstract
This chapter deals with the determining of the time frame of possible transit navigation on the NSR. It includes also date of beginning and date of closing of transit ice-free zone (corridor) linking ports in the Europe with the ports of the Far East. The process of ice disintegration in individual seas leads to formation of ice-free zones allowing navigation of vessels that do not have ice reinforcements. It is assumed that those ice-free water zones are important, which open to general direction of connection with next sea and ultimately enable passage through all subsequent seas of the NSR. The results of studies of statistical data for the routes of vessels with very small draft (of 3.0–3.5 m) and vessels with a larger draft of depth restrictions of 14.5 m were presented. The PANAMAX-type vessels, commonly used in navigation, were accepted for further consideration. The average value, standard deviation, median and quartiles were presented. It is noticed that statistical results based on average value and standard deviation include discrete statistical data changes. It is assumed that they are inconvenient for the assessment of the situation and decision-making. For this reason, it was decided to approximate historical data from the eleven summer navigation seasons using the second-degree polynomial curves. The probability of existence of ice-free transit zone was applied on diagram for opening and closing ice-free transit zone (corridor) for western and eastern parts of the NSR. The probability of the transit zone free from ice in western part of the NSR does not exceed 89%. It shows, when planning vessel voyage schedule based on historical data, there is no 100% certainty that there will be ice-free conditions in western part of the NSR. The highest probability of an ice-free zone in western part of the NSR falls on Julian day 268. For the eastern part of the NSR (Chukchi and East Siberian seas), probability of existence to the given day ice-free transit zone is limited by opening curve of the transit zone in the eastern part of the NSR and curve of closing this zone to the given day of the year. Probability of existence ice-free transit zone in eastern part is 100%. Based on historical data, it can be expected that there were ice-free conditions in days from 258 to 271 with probability of 100% on eastern part of the NSR. The highest probability of existence ice-free zone along the whole NSR route and thus the most convenient conditions for successful completion of transit voyage is during 16 days from 258 to 271 Julian days. By means of polynomial function graphs for historical data, it can continuously determine probability of existence of transit zone for ice-free navigation in the western and eastern part of the NSR for any day of the year. The diagram can be used to plan beginning and completing dates of vessel’s voyage through the NSR, taking into account probability of existence of ice-free zone in selected area.
Tadeusz Pastusiak

Models of Decision Support Systems

Frontmatter

Chapter 8. Applications of Initial Voyage Planning Decision Support System in the Context of Maritime Transport of the Northern Sea Route

Abstract
This chapter describes application of initial voyage planning and scheduling decision support model developed by the author. The most important variables of decision system, studied in previous chapters, include length of route, speed of vessel, date of opening and date of closing of ice-free transit zone. The most important for scheduling of voyage appeared proper determination of moment of opening of ice-free transit zone and thus determination of time of commence of voyage in port of departure. For this reason, a simulation was carried out in which the time of departure of vessel was changed each time. Russian long-term forecasts of ice navigation conditions were studied in order to determine possibility of using them for initial voyage planning and scheduling. Simulations of the system were carried out using technical and operational data of PANAMAX-type vessel (of a relatively deep draft) for the 2017 navigation season and two consecutive transit voyages through the NSR, i.e. “there and back”. The main goal of the voyage was to reach final destination port. Supplementary goal was to maintain continuity of vessel movement without having to stop and wait for opening the sea for ice-free navigation. Another supplementary criterion for achieving goal of voyage was not to use icebreakers. It resulted from a high price for icebreaker services, which would lead to significant reduction of economic effects of voyage. There were number of factors with a high level of unpredictability on the NSR described in previous chapters of this work. They influence decisions related primarily to date of beginning and end of availability of the NSR for vessels without ice strengthening, course and length of route as well as vessel speed in ice and ability of vessel to overcome ice. Based on results of this research, vessel’s route was determined at beginning of navigation season for first part of voyage towards east and at end of navigation season for second part of voyage in westerly direction. Navigational and economic results of forecasted voyages were shown in the tables. Results of simulation included required fuel reserve. Maximum capacity of fuel tanks on PANAMAX-type vessel allowed to get before voyage amount of fuel necessary for autonomous voyage in both directions without necessity to replenish fuel tanks on the NSR. Finally, the results of simulations for long-term NSR Administration forecast and statistical data are received by the author in this work. The expected date of beginning of voyage and related with them duration of ice-free navigation were determined. Expected voyage time from initial port in Murmansk to port of Provideniya and back to the Vilkitsky Strait (main limitation area for ice-free transit passage) was 24.8 days. Taking above into account, the greatest realistic chance of success was initially given to some of the presented dates of beginning of voyage.
Tadeusz Pastusiak

Chapter 9. Operational Voyage Planning and Verification of Initial Voyage Planning

Abstract
This chapter presents results of operational planning phase. Simulations of the vessels’ voyage were carried out in accordance with the data set at the stage of initial voyage planning and scheduling. Because operational planning phase is closely related to administrative decisions of the NSR Administration Headquarters and their organizational units, the author dealt with this phase only in aspect of assessing possibility of reaching goal of the voyage and route calculation using publicly available MIZ-type ice maps in ESRI Shape and KMZ formats published by NIC in the USA. They were used to verify the effectiveness of initial voyage planning system. The model of the operational planning system was presented in the form of the scheme, which consisted of numerous partial procedures. Implementation of partial procedures made it possible to obtain information necessary to take decisions. Selected partial procedures were described in the chapter. The visualization procedure for spatial constraints should be implemented using GIS software. This enables simultaneous display of many georeferenced files same time. Then, one can visualize on one screen borders of the land, lines of depth restrictions, limits of ice concentration and a network of suggested routes with indicated probability of their repeatability in next year. If network of suggested routes and depth limits are used, that contain requirements for safe depth limits for a particular vessel, the bathymetric map does not need to be continuously visualized. Routing procedure was based on choosing sections that were of highest probability of route repeatability in the future. It should lead through expected transit ice-free zone. Determining the route variant is part of decision-making activities. The procedure for the quality assessment of a designated section or the entire route variant concerns the determination of the value of the quality indicator of individual sections or the entire route variant and is described in Chap. 2. The decision module for the evaluation of the results of the decision system model is based on different criteria than the route designing criteria. At this stage, it must be determined whether the results meet the initial assumptions and whether it is possible or desirable to carry out a new voyage plan/schedule. Hence, the answer to very general question is whether decision-maker seems to have a potentially different route option or whether unequivocal assessment of passage feasibility has been received. A question regarding desirability of changing route determination criterion will take place if, with current requirements for reaching destination successfully, it will not be possible to find satisfactory route option or it was not possible to set such route. Change in the criterion will be related to lowering of quality indicator, i.e. put higher probability of failure to meet voyage objective and thus acceptance of higher travel costs. This may lead to imposing a higher price for the transport services (freight) offered. Attention was paid to the ambiguity of ice conditions given by sources of information. In a situation when one deal with one-day new ice forms or young ice, there is uncertainty about the accuracy of ice maps. Reaching the goal of voyage, which was performance of two consecutive transit voyages by the NSR independently by a vessel without ice strengthening without use of expensive icebreaker services, required a precise date of departure in the time frame of nine days at the stage of initial voyage planning, i.e. long-term voyage planning. Based on value of total probability factor for given date of beginning of voyage in ice-free conditions for particular parts of voyage (eastward and westward), failure, difficulties and additional costs in order to achieve destination and achieve intended goal of two consecutive voyages could be predicted.
Tadeusz Pastusiak

Chapter 10. Summary and Conclusions

Abstract
This chapter makes general summary of the author’s research results contained in the previous chapters of the monograph. This work is related to planning and scheduling of transit voyages of vessels that do not have ice strengthening, through the Northern Sea Route between the ports of Europe and the Far East. There are very difficult ice navigation conditions, and there are dangers to shipping not found in other parts of the world. Duration of ice-free navigation, during which vessels without ice strengthened hull can navigate independently (without assistance of icebreakers), lasts from 0 to 35 days. Period of so-called navigation without participation of icebreakers, during which can navigate independently vessels with ice strengthened hulls (ice classes Arc5) suitable for ice conditions, lasts from 0 to 80 days. For the remaining period of time can navigate on the NSR vessels with high ice classes (at least Arc5) with icebreaker support. The provisions of the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RMRS) indicate that ships with low ice classes can navigate in areas outside the Arctic. At the same time, RMRS regulations and Rules for navigating on the Northern Sea Route provide vessels whose design is not adapted to navigation in ice to navigate on the NSR in certain ice conditions during summer season. This creates favourable conditions for seasonal use of vessels without ice strengthening, widely available and relatively cheap in construction and operation. High variability of ice distribution over time and in geographical space and possibility to encounter various difficulties in overcoming ice and to encounter various dangers to shipping makes it difficult to determine the right route, which in a given navigation season will ensure continuity of vessel’s movement towards destination with expected speed from beginning of voyage to the end. If planned schedule and route of voyage prove to be impossible without help of icebreakers or it will require waiting for improving ice conditions, there will be additional costs caused by longer time of chartering vessel and/or use of icebreakers. Long-term forecasts of ice conditions provided by the NSR Administration website in advance of 5 months are very generalized and do not allow precise determination of most probable route, date of opening of ice-free transit zone for vessels without ice strengthening or closing date of this zone in connection with commencing systematic build-up of ice cover. Probabilistic method for determining commencing date of voyage using historical data trend line was found the most convenient for initial voyage planning. Probability of successful completing of voyage in ice-free conditions developed at initial planning stage for particular parts of voyage (eastward and westward) could be used to forecast failure, difficulties and additional costs in achieving goal of voyage of two consecutive voyages. Results of conducted simulation have shown very short time of occurrence of ice-free conditions for transit shipping through the NSR. To reach goal of voyage, which was performance of two consecutive transit voyages through the NSR by vessel without ice strengthening and without use of expensive icebreaker services, required exact date of beginning of voyage at initial (long-term) stage of planning. At the end of the chapter presented suggestions how to schedule successful voyage on the stage of initial voyage planning by means of statistical data worked out by the author, before the forecasts of ice navigation conditions will be issued. Results obtained during voyage simulation have shown that proposed algorithm may be useful in a wider scope on each vessel, in consulting company or in vessel operator’s office for design of ice navigation planning support system. It was stressed that the implementation of initial voyage planning decision-making system in shipping companies of operators and charterers should increase use of vessels being on market or increase number of vessels on new shipping routes leading through the Northern Sea Route, reduce vessel operating costs, increase economic benefits of shipping companies and thus competitiveness of these enterprises on maritime transport market. Increasing employment of vessels should increase employment of employees in shipping companies on land as well as seafarers employed on board vessels and thus affect reduction of unemployment. Exploring new shipping line should support exporters of national shipping companies. All above factors should contribute to economic development of the region involved.
Tadeusz Pastusiak

Backmatter

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