Arctic: ecology and economy
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Home Archive of journals Volume 12, No. 1, 2022 Automatic routing of vessels in ice: problem statement and solution tools


JOURNAL: Volume 12, No. 1, 2022, p. 123-139

HEADING: Problems of the Northern Sea Route

AUTHORS: Topaj, A.G., Tarovik, O.V., Bakharev, A.A.

ORGANIZATIONS: LLC Bureau Hyperborea

DOI: 10.25283/2223-4594-2022-1-123-139

UDC: 656.61

The article was received on: 28.09.2021

Keywords: Arctic shipping, ice routing, operations research, ice performance of ships, software

Bibliographic description: Topaj, A.G., Tarovik, O.V., Bakharev, A.A. Automatic routing of vessels in ice: problem statement and solution tools. Arktika: ekologiya i ekonomika. [Arctic: Ecology and Economy], 2022, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 123-139. DOI: 10.25283/2223-4594-2022-1-123-139. (In Russian).


Development of the applied solutions to optimize ship path in dynamic ice environment is one of the urgent problems due to the ongoing growth of Arctic shipping. Ice routing makes it possible to increase the efficiency of sea transportation, reduce the risks of ship operation in ice, and minimize the negative anthropogenic impact on the atmosphere.
This article describes in a concentrated form the authors’ experience in this area and presents Boreas, the developed research software application for automatic ice routing. Mathematical formulation of ice routing task is based on a universal economic criterion that allows optimizing not only a trajectory, but also the amount of icebreaker assistance, ship operation modes (astern or bow forward), and some other aspects of ice navigation. Functionality and architecture of the Boreas software allow carrying out various studies in the field of ice routing. The application supports alternative ice data sources and various speed regimes of a ship. It allows using different search algorithms (grid, wave-based, and combined) and considers numerous navigation features (predefined fairways, navigation depths, and restricted areas). As an example of using the Boreas software, we compared the route of Norilskiy Nickel containership from Dudinka to Murmansk on March 19—22, 2018 with several automatically generated routes for various speed regimes.
Based on our experience and the results of this study, we can state that the development of applied solutions for Arctic routing is significantly complicated by multiple sources of uncertainty and requires further research. The article formulates a list of scientific and technical problems that need to be solved for the comprehensive understanding and further implementation of ice routing technologies in the practice of ship navigation in the Arctic.


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DOI 10.25283/2223-4594