ABS spearheads first study of Arctic ice’s impact on tankers

The following is the text of a press release issued by ABS:
(HOUSTON) — ABS, ConocoPhillips, Sovcomflot, and Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) are jointly participating in a pioneering study measuring the effect of ice loads on Arctic class shuttle tanker performance. 
Owing to the newness of these larger Arctic vessels, even experienced ice navigators can benefit from additional guidance when selecting the desired speed, mode of transit or maneuvering options when on passage in heavy ice.  The joint project, understood to be the first of its kind, will provide researchers with important data regarding stresses these vessels experience operating in ice-covered waters.
“We have considerable experience measuring ice loads on ice breakers and smaller ships, but the scale effect of large ships operating in heavy ice conditions is not as well defined,” said Aleksandr Iyerusalimskiy, Project Services, ConocoPhillips.  “We are excited to be part of a project that can contribute to improving our understanding of the safe operations of vessels in the Arctic.”
The study will be conducted on the 70,000 DWT Shturman Albanov, the third in a series of Arctic shuttle tankers scheduled for delivery from SHI in February 2009, during its initial two winter seasons operating in the Barents Sea.  A state-of-the-art monitoring system will employ fiber-optic sensors within the ice belt at two locations in the bow and stern quarters to measure and record ice pressures and loads, and compute ice-induced responses of the hull structure at highly loaded locations.  A bridge display depicting a color plot of the pressure distribution over each area includes an alarm to alert crews of large impacts. 
“The goal is to provide real time feedback to operators, reducing the uncertainty that can exist today, and then use this information to mitigate the risks involved,” said ABS Research & Development Manager, Han Yu. “As vessel requirements change to meet industry needs, research continues to assess the practicality of these new designs in more extreme operating conditions.  It is a fundamental element in the cycle of ship design.” 
Founded in 1862, ABS is a leading international classification society devoted to promoting the security of life, property and the marine environment through the development and verification of standards for the design, construction and operational maintenance of marine-related facilities.
By Professional Mariner Staff