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SEDNA – Safe maritime operations under extreme conditions: the Arctic case

Type of project
Applied research
H2020 - MG-3.3-2016 - Safer waterborne transport and maritime operations
01.06.2017 -> 31.05.2020

This project has been completed

About the project

SEDNA (“Safe maritime operations under extreme conditions: the Arctic case”) is a research project that is developing an innovative and integrated risk-based approach to safe Arctic navigation, ship design and operation.

SEDNA has a global consortium, with 13 partners from 6 different countries, including China, and will run for three years from June 2017.

A human-centred “Safe Arctic Bridge” for ice-going vessels

Ships and their crews operating in the Arctic face a number of significant safety challenges including:

Inherent navigation technology limitations, such as creeping compass errors and variable GNSS positioning errors, causing bridge teams who lack experience of operating in the Arctic to be at increased risk of making potentially dangerous misjudgements and errors as a result, with potentially serious consequences.

Lack of accurate navigational information. The presence of ice has a major impact on the safety, operability and efficiency of Arctic operations and navigation. Existing and operational research sea ice forecasting products are not fit-for-purpose for use on board vessels and have not been adequately verified, validated and optimised for use operationally in strategic ice management. Moreover, there is no weather routing system available to consider the optimum operation of ships under ice conditions.

Generic bridge designs unsuited for the region. Vessels operating in the Arctic have bridges that are largely the same in layout and equipment fit as vessels operating elsewhere i.e. they are not fit for purpose for Arctic operations. Operating a ship in Arctic waters is complex and hazardous; the difficulties of navigating a vessel in the harsh environment of the Arctic, with its extreme weather and the presence of ice, put the crew under severe stress. Being overwhelmed by information from many different sources exacerbates this experience leading to poor situational awareness and decision making. Approximately 60% of all accidents are related to navigation, and these continue to occur despite the development and availability of technologies that aim to improve situational awareness and decision making alone. When focussing on the bridge, the key challenge is how to improve the human-system interface and provide a mechanism to successfully manage the large and varied information layers that ships’ crews are exposed to.

Ship navigation teams without specialist Arctic navigation knowledge. More and more vessels navigating in Arctic waters are not crewed by bridge teams with much, if any, Arctic navigation experience. Arctic navigation is a highly specialised and complex activity that demands particular skillsets from bridge crews to be safe. Inexperienced bridge teams without Arctic specific knowledge and training significantly increase the risk profile for vessels operating in the Arctic.

To address these safety challenges, AHO will contribute to develop the Safe Arctic Bridge, a human-centred operational environment for the ice-going ship bridge using augmented reality technology to provide improved situational awareness and decision making whilst enabling integration with new key information layers developed by the project using innovative big data management techniques.