JHC Navigating Limits Sub-Committee

The INC 1/11/03 wording is designed for modern trading realities: The associated climate information is kept under review by the standing sub-committee. 

Baltic Sea Ice report 03.04.23

Baltic Sea Ice report 13.03.23

Baltic Sea Ice report 28.02.23

Baltic Sea Ice report 13.02.23

Baltic Sea Ice report 16.01.23

Baltic Sea Ice report 25.04.22

Baltic Sea Ice report 31.01.22

Baltic Sea Ice report 04.01.22

Baltic Sea Ice report 20.12.21

Baltic Sea Ice report 30.3.21

Baltic Sea Ice report 15.3.21

Baltic Sea Ice report 8.2.21

Serious ice conditions in Northern China ports
Owing to the recent low temperatures in Northern China since the end of December 2020, the ice condition in Bohai and Huanghai sea area has been developing quickly.
UK Club correspondents Oasis P&I noted that in Liaodong Bay the ice along the coast had extended by 30 miles, to 40 miles from shore, within a short period. According to the current forecast the ice condition will develop further over the next few days, with floating ice reaching 50 miles in Liaodong Bay, 10 to 15 miles in Bohai Bay and Laizhou Bay, and 10 to 20 miles in north Huanghai Sea.

Sea Area

Floating Ice Range from Shore (mile)

General Ice Thickness (cm)

Maximum Ice Thickness (cm)

Liaodong Bay




Bohai Bay




Laizhou Bay




North Huanghai Sea




China’s coldest winter in decades meant that state-owned energy company Sinopec was unable to unload heating fuel from a vessel because a thick sheet of ice was blocking access.
With the help of an icebreaker ship and a cannon loaded with hot water, workers spent 20 hours clearing a pathway for the tanker to dock and discharge its cargo of liquefied natural gas in Tianjin.
A La Nina weather phenomenon has sent a wave of cold air across North Asia this winter. Beijing last week recorded its lowest temperature since 1966, while Seoul had its coldest day since 1986. Record snowfall had fallen inland from Japan’s west coast.
Japan, China and South Korea are the world’s biggest LNG importers. The extra demand has pushed prices for spot cargoes and tankers carrying the fuel to record levels.
However, Jenny Yang, a senior director at IHS Markit Ltd. in Beijing told Bloomberg that the cold winter was not the only reason contributing to the recent dramatic spot price spikes, which were probably due to a combination of supply, demand, and shipping factors in a relatively thin and illiquid market.

Sub-freezing temperatures and disruptive winds are expected for the rest of the week in Northeast China, according to the country’s meteorological agency.

See also London Club's commentary:


Notable incidents

5 May 2017 - Southern Ocean Loss

Refrigerated cargo ship, 1993-built, 10,629 gt  Uruguay Reefer (IMO: 9017264) suffered a massive intake of water on May 5th in her number two hold, possibly as a result of striking ice, eventually forcing the crew to abandon ship on May 7th. The flooding was initially reported from a position about 100 nm off Elephant Island, an isolated outcropping in the Southern Ocean near the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. The vessel still had propulsion and her master planned to seek assistance from two company-owned vessels in the vicinity of the Falkland Islands. On Sunday, vessel operator Baltmed Reefer Services reported that the Uruguay's crew was unable to halt the ingress of water and that flooding was worsening in persistent rough weather. Early on May 7th the master ordered abandon ship, and all 42 of the Uruguay's crew safely transferred to another merchant vessel, the reefer Taganrogskiy Zaliv (also operated by Baltmed).

23 February 2016 - Icebreaker aground in Antarctica – high winds break moorings 

Australia-chartered icebreaker Aurora Australis went aground in Antarctica off Mawson Station. The 6,600-gt P&O vessel (built 1989) was on a resupply mission. The Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) confirmed the ship had broken free of its mooring lines during a blizzard on Wednesday afternoon. A total of 67 passengers and crew were on board, but no injuries were reported. Bad weather has prevented a full inspection of the hull. The AAD said winds of up to 130 kilometres per hour were recorded just before the ship broke free. Aurora Australis is owned by P&O Maritime Services and chartered by AAD and is due to be replaced by a new AUD 500m ($358m) icebreaker in 2019.

There are regular casualties in ice areas as these two spreadsheets demonstrate.

Increased Risk of Grounding in Barranquilla, Colombia

View previous incidents.

Member's Area Responsbilities

Area 1 Arctic Matt Wells
Area 2 Northern Seas Matt Wells
Area 3 Baltic Sarah Wilson
Area 4 Greenland Katie Costello
Area 5 N America Andrew Davies
Area 6 N America (W) Matt Gysbers
Area 7 S Ocean Daisy-May White
Area 8 Kerguelen Daisy-May White
Area 9 East Asia Matt Gysbers
Northern Sea Route (NSR)

Download an ABS Advisory document on the NSR

Members are regularly approached and asked about voyages to this region where there is little to no salvage capability. Information has improved with the advent of the Arctic Portal but underwriters approached to write a risk in these waters may wish to satisfy themselves on the following points - surveyors are unlikely to be available:
  • suitability of vessel for the intended voyage
  • crewing arrangements including key personnel’s levels of experience in Arctic navigation
  • proposed route and voyage dates
  • ice breaker and escort arrangements
  • access to accurate and up to date weather information and weather routing proposals and suitable ports of refuge
  • bunkering arrangements.

Permission needs to be obtained from the appropriate marine authority, appropriate navigation rules need to be complied with and it can be helpful to have a Russian speaking deck officer on board.

Although their 2009 Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment was some while ago, the Arctic Council's points remain valid:

  • significant portions of the primary Arctic shipping routes do not have adequate charts to support safe navigation
  • this is most critical in the Canadian Archipelago and the Beaufort Sea and possibly other areas in the Arctic
  • furthermore there are serious limitations to radio and satellite communications for voice or data transmission in the Arctic because there is not complete satellite coverage of the region.

They also noted stated that: 

  • no research and none of the simulations have indicated that the winter sea ice cover of the Arctic Ocean will disappear during this century...it is highly plausible there will be greater marine access and longer seasons of navigation except perhaps during winter, but not necessarily less difficult ice conditions for marine operations
  • most shipping in the Arctic today is destinational
  • the majority of cruise ships observed recently in Arctic waters are not purpose-built for Arctic operations