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How to Prevent damage to ship & machinery prior entering freezing areas

Ocean water freezes just like freshwater, but at lower temperatures. Freshwater freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, but seawater freezes at about 28.4 degrees Fahrenheit, because of the salt in it. Due to the presence of many hostile conditions, any merchant ship, while entering a freezing sea area, significant challenges are being encountered concerning safety and reliability of navigation. Shipmaster should ensure that the following measures have been taken to prevent damage to Vessel, Machinery, Pipelines, and Equipment prior entry into areas with Freezing Conditions.

containerships operational matters
Oil Tanker Safety Guide
Deck Preparations
  1. Freeze prevention for Pipe lines and Valves / Systems related
  2. Draining Fresh and Seawater Pipelines, Valves, etc
  3. Fireline, deck wash lines, ballast water lines, tank cleaning lines, and various lines containing water shall be drained.
  4. Where remaining water cannot be drained by gravity because of piping layout, flanges shall be removed for draining.
  5. Steam supply and return lines, exposed to freezing temperatures shall be drained completely.
  6. Prior steam usage and entry in freezing temperatures, all steam traps should be cleaned, so that the flow will not be impeded by condensation or freezing.
  7. Freshwater lines outside accommodation and E/R should be drained
  8. Suitable cautionary placards to be posted at pumps and main valves
  9. Except for unavoidable cases, do not flow water in a line that has once been drained.
  10. Draining Heating Coils / Traces in Machinery space and/or Under passage
When not in use, coils should be shut from steam and exhaust lines by applying for blind plates at Steam / Exhaust valves, and Heating coils in tanks shall be airblown to flush drain out.

Additional for Tankers // Draining and isolating of Heating Coils and Traces for:
Navigating through very open ice

Freeze prevention for Apparatuses Life boats

Freeze prevention for Fresh and Sea Water Tanks.: Ensure that full tanks have sufficient void to allow for expansion. Pay attention to freshwater tanks in lifeboats (To leave some void)

Crew protection : Crew shall be well equipped with warm working gear. All work should be planned such that crew is less exposed to cold weather. Heating in accommodation should be checked for satisfactory working. Consideration for adding de-icing salt to prevent slipping could be carried out. All personnel shall be instructed in the hazards of working in freezing conditions.

Freeze prevention for Deck machinery: Keep the Hydraulic Pumps running continuously. Replace Hydraulic Oil in Hydraulic pumps with that for exclusive use in cold districts. For the first few minutes, a no-load operation for the Windlass, Winches, and other Deck machinery. Also under severe Cold district, above No-load operation may be required Before enter such an area.

Additional for Tankers // Maintain Heating the Deck Seal water Tank, AUS (Auto Unloading Systems) Seal Water Tank, etc. is provided with heating lines or Maintaining a Continuous Flow. Drain seal water inside the Vacuum pump.

Freeze Prevention for Nautical instruments: Continuous operation of the Radar, subject to the Port or Terminal regulation, while in port. Turn on Navigation Lights at all times (at sea). Switch on Heaters of the Airhorn, Bridge Clear View Screen, Windows, etc.

Freeze Prevention in Machinery space: Close openings to the outside. Adjust the number of ventilating fans on operation in the machinery space. Open the door between the Machinery Space and Steering gear room to prevent temperature drop in the Steering gear room. (During times of manned machinery spaces only) . Continuous operation of Hydraulic Pumps for the Steering gear (Turn the rudder every 30 min. while in port)

winter route north Atlantic
An example of two diffrent route at North Atlantic ocean.
Northerly Great Circle route was recommended due extreme weather
at southern latitudes. Image credit: StormGeo

For navigation in areas where Ice may be encountered, or across a sea which might Freeze, the Master shall carry out the following items to assure safe navigation of the vessel.
  1. Study of Detour: Never make light of the danger and difficulty of navigation in Ice. If a route to detour around the frozen sea is available, the detour should be selected even if the distance increases greatly.

  2. Collection of Ice Information:

    Try to obtain the latest information through telecommunication, Ice information via weather facsimile, and information from local agency. Ice information from WNI Ocean-routes and Weather Associations. If under contract on weather routing service, request the supply of such information (Such information is available free of charge). Ice information from BIMCO (The Baltic and International Maritime Council) is obtained through an agent. (North Europe and the East Coast of Canada). Master is also reminded of the obligation, under SOLAS to transmit danger messages on observation of Ice.

  3. Preparations for entering into Ice Sea

    The Master shall ensure that the following preparation is made before navigating in Ice Sea:

  4. Ice conditions
    Ice conditions

  5. Maneuvering Vessel During Navigation in Ice

    The Master shall pay the following special attention during Navigation in Ice Sea.

  6. Preventive Measures Against Icing On Hull

    The Master shall take the following preventive measures to prepare for the icing on the hull:

  7. Record Keeping: The Navigation in Cold Weather Checklist Should be used on each occasion of navigating in cold districts, or in Ice.

  8. Documents For Reference

    The Mariner's Handbook (BA Publication),
    [Chapter 6 (Iced), Chapter 7 (Operation in Polar Regions and where ice is prevalent)]
    Ice Navigation in Canadian Waters (Canadian Coast Guard)
    Navigational Radio Aid

Related topics:

What is navigation in heavy weather ? ....

What is navigation in congested water ? ....

Passage planning guideline for navigation in confined water ....

What is navigation in restricted visibility ? ....

What are the steering gear check item ? ....

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