The article examines the effect of weather conditions on possibility of iceberg detection and towing in Arctic. Based on materials gathered during 2016-2017 iceberg towing trials, for various operations with icebergs a matrix of weather constraints was built, including wind speed, wave height and horizontal visibility. Based on statistics of environmental conditions in the southwestern part of the Kara Sea the number of days suitable for iceberg detection and towing was calculated for each 10-day period of the navigation period. Storms duration and weather windows were analyzed and maximum iceberg drift was determined for the periods when towing is significantly complicated due to bad weather. These results were used to specify range and boundaries of the ice management zones. Navigation period was split into three intervals of high, satisfactory and unsatisfactory efficiency of iceberg safety. Obtained results can be used in planning of offshore operations in iceberg waters, primarily for the seas characterized by weak and moderate wind-wave regime.


Geological exploration projects in iceberg waters (during the open water period) are significantly affected by change of weather conditions that have an impact on iceberg safety of infrastructure facilities and fleet. Autumn processes (increasing storm activity, sea and atmospheric icing, less daylight hours, etc.) decrease efficiency of iceberg detecting and deflecting methods. For iceberg safety an important issue is to quantify this decrease, as well as to identify the date when favorable weather conditions change to adverse.

In further discussion as an example of facility at risk we will use exploratory drilling platform (semi-submersible or jack-up) with disconnection time less than 3 days. They require iceberg protection by several tugboats with towing force of 80-100 tons, equipped with an ice radar. Besides, a helicopter carrier vessel is needed, which is the base for the helicopter and unmanned aerial vehicles.

This assessment requires results of real-scale experiments on icebergs detection and deflection (applicability matrix and maximum efficiency), as well as accumulated statistics on environmental conditions (waves, wind, visibility) for a particular area.

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