Marine operations in the Arctic areas call for improved safety measures due to the rough weather conditions and the increased risk for operational interruptions and collision with icebergs/ice floes. In addition there is an imminent need to secure earliest possible warning of eventual oil spills and other substances which may cause harm to the vulnerable Arctic environment. By application of new and revolutionary radar sensor technology the industry can take a quantum leap in direction of safeguarding all these marine, drilling and production activities in the Arctic region and thereby avoid costly operational delays, accidents and limit oil spill recovery operations. The authority having jurisdiction of the exploration area will certainly demand and require documentation from the operator on behalf of the licensees to document that best possible technologies are taken into use to reduce risks as far as practically possible.
The standard navigation radars type approved according the IMO regulations MSC.192(79) and IEC 62388 / 60945 do not possess necessary skills to differentiate return signals from water and ice and hence the display will only present a partial truth of the ice conditions surrounding the vessel/rig/platform as the case may be. More advanced radar displays may to a certain extent compensate by further processing of the poor quality input data from the standard radar sensor. However, this cannot disregard the fact that improved radar sensor input data is the only measure that can provide the navigator with full and complete information of vessel surroundings in real time so that he can make best possible assessments and decisions as early as practically possible. The same applies to other important radar services like long distance real-time oil spill detection/warning/ monitoring, wave - and current measurement, warning of local weather phenomenon's and high waves, small and/or high speed targets (terror threats, other undesired presence interrupting operations), general marine traffic etc.
Radar picture processing has little real value unless supported by high quality input data. The Sea-Hawk technology represents the high end of radar sensor performance.
Radar is the only dynamical instrument which can provide a true real-time description of its 360° surroundings. All other instruments can only describe a partial truth or possibly a real-time description of a small sector in real-time.
The authors of this paper therefore recommends to the industry and all relevant authorities that a common specification is agreed upon for all activity in the Arctic environment in order for all parties affected to focus efforts in the same, and hopefully correct, direction in order both to safeguard human life, the vulnerable environment and reduce operational costs and consequential costs of any sort of accidents (damage or loss of vessels/rigs, authority induced operation/production stops, close downs etc.).