April 26 - The Nautical Institute has launched Polar Ship Operation, a reference guide aimed at seafarers, shipowners and others who are planning to operate in that extreme environment.

There has been an increase in activity in the polar regions as the maritime and offshore industries respond to global warming and the need to find more sources of energy. However, as author Captain Duke Snider FNI explains, these regions used to be the domain of experienced operators and vessel owners.

Captain Snider says: "As global climate change has resulted in an increase interest in shipping in Polar Regions, such a reference gap is of paramount importance. Polar Ship Operations addresses this gap in reference material."

The book is laid out to familiarise readers with the geographic, climatological and meteorological aspects of the Arctic and Antarctic, to explain the remoteness of these regions and the lack of support infrastructure. Other chapters cover the physics of ice formation and basics of ice interpretation and reporting, offering help to identify old and glacial ice, the preparation for operating in these regimes and ship handing in polar ice conditions.

The book was launched at the 8th annual Arctic Shipping Forum held by Informa in Helsinki, less than two weeks after a report on the development of the Arctic from Lloyd's of London and Chatham House. It predicted that an estimated USD100 billion would be invested in activities in the region over the next ten years.

Readers will recall that in September 2009, the now departed Beluga Shipping's multipurpose heavy lift project shipsBeluga Fraternity and Beluga Foresight succeeded in transitting the formerly impenetrable Northeast Passage from Asia to Europe.

Both vessels had set sail in July of that year from Ulsan in South Korea, to enter the Northern Sea Route via the inspection point at Vladivostok in order to deliver their project cargoes further into the region than any other merchant vessel had been able to do before, eventually transiting the Northeast passage to Rotterdam via Murmansk

During the passage through the East Siberian Sea, the Sannikov Strait and the Vilkizki Strait, the Beluga vessels followed in a little convoy behind Russian Atomflot-ice breakers 50 Let Pobedy and Rossia. 

Polar Ship Operations is available from The Nautical Institute price: GBP30