We present a methodology for tactical route optimization in waters covered by sea ice. The ice conditions are time-dependent and uncertain. This paper proposes a methodology for determining the fastest route through ice covered waters based on a stochastic dynamic programming model. As such, the focus is on the routing element of the methodology rather than on how to predict ice conditions or model ship performance. Preliminary results for a small, but artificial test case from the Bay of Bothnia are presented as well.


The reduced sea ice coverage in the Arctic Ocean has attracted a lot of attention to shipping in Arctic waters. However, sea areas covered with ice can be found all over the world: For example, the Bay of Bothnia and the Gulf of Finland in the Baltic Sea freeze every year. In fact, the Baltic Sea might be covered completely by sea ice during an extreme winter. The northern part of the Caspian Sea is prone to sea ice during winter and also Bohai Bay in the Yellow Sea is known for forming sea ice.

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