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Research on navigation risk of the Arctic Northeast Passage based on POLARIS

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 February 2022

Lei An
Navigation College, Dalian Maritime University, Dalian116026, China.
Long Ma*
Maritime College, Guangdong Ocean University, Zhanjiang524005, China
Hui Wang
Navigation College, Dalian Maritime University, Dalian116026, China.
Heng-Yu Zhang
Navigation College, Dalian Maritime University, Dalian116026, China.
Zhen-Hua Li
Panjin Customs District P.R. CHINA, Panjin124221, China
*Corresponding author. E-mail:


The complex sea ice conditions in Arctic waters has different impacts on the legs of the Arctic passage, and ships of specific ice classes face different navigation risks. Therefore, the quantitative analysis of the navigation risks faced in different legs has important practical significance. Based on the POLARIS introduced by IMO, the sea ice condition data from 2011 to 2020 was used to quantify the navigation risk of the Arctic Northeast passage. The risk index outcome (RIO) of the Arctic Northeast Passage were calculated. The navigable windows of the route for ice class 1A ships sailing independently under different sea ice conditions in the last decade were determined, with a navigable period of 91 days under normal sea ice conditions, approximately 175 days under light sea ice conditions and only week 40 close to navigation under severe sea ice conditions. The three critical waters affecting the safety of ships were identified. Combined with the navigable windows and critical waters, recommendations on ship's navigation and manipulation and recommendations for stakeholders were given. The method and results provided reference and support for the assessment of the navigation risk of ships in the Northeast Passage and safety navigation and operations of ships, and satisfied the needs of relevant countries and enterprises to rationally arrange shipment dates and sailing plans based on different ice classes of ships.

Research Article
Copyright © The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Royal Institute of Navigation

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