A new three-year research project, funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, has been launched to address safety and efficiency in Arctic ship operations.
SEDNA will develop a novel risk-based approach to Arctic navigation, ship design and maritime operations. Recent years have seen a rapid increase in shipping operations in Arctic regions, as ice cover has reduced due to global warming. While this offers the potential to save significantly on voyage times, the harsh environment poses new challenges to seafarers and vessels: extreme temperatures, icing of vital equipment, remoteness, fast-changing sea ice, and a lack of search and rescue infrastructure are very real risks to passengers and crew. These challenges are exacerbated by a lack of accurate sea ice forecasting, an absence of ship bridges specifically designed for the Arctic and – quite frequently – a lack of Arctic-specific training for the navigation crew.
SEDNA is addressing these problems in a variety of ways. Firstly, it will develop the ‘Safe Arctic Bridge’, a human-centred operational environment for ice-going vessels. Its design and layout will focus on the navigational requirements of the Arctic, namely ice, weather and a lack of chart data.
Secondly, SEDNA will develop anti-icing solutions for vessels’ superstructures. The build-up of ice on a ship can pose a serious risk to safety, as it affects stability and may render important equipment (like antennas, hatches and life boat davits) unusable. To prevent this, SEDNA will mimic the excellent water-repellent properties of penguins’ feathers with a combination of a special surface texture and an oil-based coating.
Thirdly, SEDNA will develop a risk-based design framework for ship safety, including the definition of hazard scenarios, their likelihood and their expected consequences. In particular, this will take into account ice loads and their effects on ships.