NAVIGATION IN ICE / Chief officer vacancy

In general, the Company will endeavour to avoid sending vessels to areas where navigating through ice bound waters is necessary except:

a) At the beginning and end of the ice season;

b) In areas where ice thickness is normally insufficient to present a serious impediment to safe navigation of un-strengthened ships, with or without icebreaker assistance;

c) When icebreaker assistance is available.

Masters should note that Charter Parties normally specifically exclude any requirement to force ice. If, when approaching a port, the Master considers that there is sufficient ice to create risk of damage to the ship, he must consult the Company before proceeding.

When navigating in ice is inevitable however, the following precautions should be taken:

a) When the ship is so constructed, any forward tanks should have their ullages reduced to below seawater level;

b) The ship should be loaded or ballasted to ensure sufficient draught to prevent damage to rudder, propeller etc. and to minimize the risk of blockage of the intakes;

c) Engines should be stopped so that the ship enters the ice at a maximum speed of about two knots. Thereafter, the engine speed can be gradually increased to a safe maximum;

d) The rudder should not be moved more than 5°, port or starboard, to minimize risk of ice entrapment between rudder and propeller;

If a ship is programmed into ice-congested waters, appropriate advice and assistance should be obtained from local authorities such as ECAREG in Canada. This may include the use of Ice Advisers and Icebreakers. If ice conditions change and create a risk of the ship becoming icebound, the Master is empowered to obtain local icebreaker assistance and should not hesitate to do so. Masters are cautioned that in areas subject to frequent severe icing, icebreaker assisted navigation may be subject to local rules of navigation empowering the Master of a Government icebreaker to form and direct a convoy system, with which commercial shipping must comply. Reference must be made to the Chief officer vacancy and Admiralty Sailing Directions and the relevant publications of the States concerned, and Masters must comply with all the directions and advice they contain.

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