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October 16, 2012 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


The Branch was delighted to welcome 38 members and guests to CYMEPA House, Limassol for this very topical presentation.

The Arctic and Antarctic regions are becoming ever more important to us as the world grows more crowded and the demand for resources increases. Every week we hear of the superhuman efforts to drill deeper for oil or extract oil from more and more difficult fields. These activities are affecting our industry too. From the desire to use the North Sea Route or to service remote locations in Antarctica, our industry is finding itself at the ‘edge of the ice field’ so to speak.

Our Speaker was Captain Yury Mogilyuk, Ice Fleet Manager at SCF UNICOM. He served with the Murmansk Shipping Company from 1972- 1993 rising up to the position of Master in 1983.

Thereafter he served with a number of well known international shipping groups including KEDMA and Columbia Ship  Management. He joined  SCF UNICOM in 2000 and has been Superintendent and Operator of dry cargo vessels. In 2004, his responsibilities were expanded to included tanker vessels and since 2006  he has been Ice Fleet Manager.

Yury began by explaining the set-up of the SCF fleet and in what ice areas they are operating, such as Sakhalin Island project and the Arctic oil export ports in the Barents Sea.

Then he presented the developments on the North Sea Route (NSR) showing  since 2010 how bigger vessels were being used. For example, in 2010, the maximum loaded draft was  11.0m for an Aframax tanker , ice class ARC5. In 2011, a Suezmax with ice class ARC4 and draft 13.6m passed through. He also showed us the route plan and some photos of the vessel SCF Amur with ice class ARC4 and draft 12.45m passing through in a convoy in Sept 2012. The North Passage has a maximum draft of 14m and the inner route (Dmitry Laptev Strait) has a maximum allowable draft of 7m . The Sanikova Strait (the middle route) allows vessels to pass with a maximum draft of 12m. NSR activity has been steadily increasing since 2010 when 10 vessels passed with a total cargo of 145,000 mts.  2012 activity to date included 36 vessels (21 tankers) and over 1million mt of cargo. Oil going from West to East is the predominant cargo, followed by bulk.

The distance saving for a vessel travelling through the NSR compared with the Suez Canal is significant. Taking the voyage from Rotterdam to Yokohama , the distance is 7345nm via the NSR and 11205nm via the Suez Canal – a saving of 3860 miles. However, the bunker and time savings are normally consumed by Pilotage and Ice breaker charges. These days, the charter rates are so low that slow steaming is more important than early arrivals! Therefore it would seem that the NSR will remain for specific vessels in the region passing through with oil or bulk cargoes.

Then Yury focused on the Gulf of Finland where there is heavy tanker traffic . Latest estimates indicate 25 tankers per day calling at the ports within the Gulf. He explained the ice situation there and showed some ice charts for a typical March with fast ice (25cm – 60cm thick) in the Eastern part. Ice navigation restrictions are placed on vessels trading in the Gulf under the Russian Harbourmaster regulations however there are a confusing set of ice strength requirements, each having different interpretations and meanings. Yury took the example of a laden Aframax tanker with a beam of 44m and a speed of 9-10 knots following an ice breaker. In this condition , with close pack ice or fast ice and with the ice breaker only clearing to a max width of 26- 30m , then damage to bilge tanks is a real possibility. Masters need to know exactly what their ship hulls can withstand and at what speed. For this Yury recommended that each vessel is issued with its own ice passport which gives the Master detailed information on what the hull can withstand in a easy-to-follow and practical way. For example, what is the maximum speed that is allowed according to different ice conditions on the route? Propeller immersion and damage to propeller blades was another topic of discussion as he explained that propeller blades cannot operate astern in ice conditions (DNV Class 1A) without damaging the blade tips.  He showed us many damage photos to hulls and propellers caused by incorrect navigation in ice.

The use of ice breakers and the best and worst operating practices were shown. Poor ice breaker support included ice breakers ‘zig-zagging, operating too close to the following vessel or operating too far away. For large tankers, it is necessary to have 2 ice breakers in assistance and there needs to be special rules created for waiting areas, vessel management centres in ice areas and an ice breaker in attendance at all times . Yury showed us a number of graphic pictures of what can happen to a vessel if she experiences heavy weather in ice condition and is not fitted with suitable de-icing facilities. To overcome this, SCF-Unicom have equipped their ships with heaters in the fire line system that can produce hot seawater with a temperature of 60C and an operating pressure of 9.0 kg.

Concluding his presentation, Yury stressed the need for proper crew training as well as pointing out that the delicate eco-systems at the Poles must be preserved.

The presentation was followed by a lively Q&A session and then Members and Guests adjourned to the walled garden at CYMEPA house where refreshments and more discussions were on offer.

Graham Cowling

Branch Chairman




October 16, 2012
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


LIMASSOL , Cyprus + Google Map