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Ship in winter sea


The purpose of the Alandia Winter and Ice Navigation Portal is to provide a quick referencing guide to current best practices, infrastructure, ice breaker assistance, and the sea areas and routes where winter and ice navigation apply. Winter navigation is defined as conditions where the air temperature is below 0 Celsius, and ice navigation where sea ice is present. These conditions can occur independently or together i.e., sub-zero temperatures without sea ice, sea ice without sub-zero temperatures, or sub-zero temperatures with presence of sea ice. 

This portal is a living information source, meaning it is kept up to date with a continual flow of broader and more detailed information. The portal will expand with one sea area at time, containing area specific ice navigation best practices.

The portal is a compilation of references to the latest edition of “The Ice Navigation and Seamanship Handbook” by Witherbys (2019) and has been created in co-operation with one of the authors of the book, Tommy Berg, an active ice breaker Captain who has formerly worked as an ice advisor in Canada. This means that the portal benefits from unique operational and theoretical backgrounds and insights. In other words, the portal has been built from the best literature and experience of active practicing experts in the field, providing first-class knowledge on the subject matter.

This portal is a living information source, meaning it is kept up to date with a continual flow of broader and more detailed information.
Technological advances on vessels (including ice breakers), weather forecasting, communication technologies, and navigation improvements enable winter and ice navigation in more demanding conditions. The adoption of the Polar Code together with the SOLAS Convention, set safety, technical, technological, and training standards for the operation, but do not provide in-depth knowledge or operational decision-making support.

The significant reduction of sea ice due to melting in the polar regions increases marine traffic such as expedition cruises, polar region natural resource exploration activities, and creates a longer navigable season for the Northern Sea Route (NSR). Therefore, the importance of winter and ice navigation cannot be over-emphasised, and the portal remains an invaluable tool.


Winter operation



Ice navigation is both interesting and challenging, requiring a specific…

Ice navigation

Webinar: Lessons learned in incidents regarding ice navigation.

Operations best practices checklist

Since navigating in winter and ice conditions increases risk, our…
ships in winter_shutterstock_24848509

Winter theme

Learn more about hypothermia, basic layering and contact damages in…

Risks and rules in respect of winter navigation

Is a vessel liable for damages caused to another vessel…

Printable PDF

Basic layering

How to layer in cold weather.

Navigation in ice - Checklist

Since navigating in winter and ice conditions increases risk, we have compiled anoperations best practices checklist.

Webinar: Lessons learned in incidents regarding ice navigation.

Our Ice navigation webinar in four parts, about 10 minutes each.


  • Hans Björkestam – Safety and Environment Manager, ESL – Shipping  
  • Sten Rosenqvist – Safety Manager, Eckerö Line  
  • Niklas Gustafsson – Captain, Eckerö Line  
  • Thomas Friis – Development Manager, VG-Shipping  
  • Moderator: Martti Simojoki – Senior Loss Prevention Manager, Alandia 


Part 1

Lessons learned in incidents regarding ice navigation

In this short webinar clip on ice navigation the panel discusses why the industry needs to be better at learning from incidents, some basics for safe ice navigation that we easily forget, and how the introduction of the polar code contributes to a reduction in ice related incidents. Additionally, we get to hear real accounts of accidents and some related talk around responsibility/liability when things go wrong during ice breaker assistance operations. 

Part 2

Biggest challenges – risks that cannot be controlled and risks that can be controlled

What are the biggest challenges when it comes to taking control of ice navigation risks? Why is hands-on experience so important and how do we maintain it? Ice and winters in southern Finland have become milder and this results in there being less available experience of ice navigation. On the flip side, can there be issues with navigators who have “too much experience” in ice? Hear the answers to these intriguing questions and more during this short panel discussion clip! 

Part 3

Ice breaker assistance risks

Lets talk about ice breaker assistance risks: The final responsibility for the safety of each vessel lies with the Master, but what happens to the cooperation between the ice breaker and the vessel being assisted when an instruction is rejected? There are risks present when you follow ice breaker instructions and also when not following them! Listen to some practical insights and the real-life experiences of those on the panel. 

Part 4

How could shipping industry improve operations in cold climate?

Cold climates come with special challenges for vessels. How can we improve our winter operations/navigation? Listen to some discussion on the expansion and sharing of knowledge, increased cooperation between various parties & services, and the design of vessels and systems that can help us to mitigate the risks of damage in ice