A Canadian-German Research Project

Prioritizing risks and opportunities

Risk analysis of vessel traffic in the Arctic is a key component of the PASSAGES project. This involves identifying hazards to the ships (ice, freezing spray, grounding, breakdown, etc.) and by the ships (pollution, noise, whale strikes, etc.).

Once the potential risks are identified, they need to be quantified, which entails estimating the likelihood of a particular event occurring and the magnitude of its impacts, which can be illustrated using a risk matrix.

The work being done in this section of the PASSAGES Project is focused on the following set of activities:

  • Developing a list of all risks and opportunities presented to all relevant stakeholders, including the environment, indigenous people, industry, and government bodies
  • Conducting end-to-end risk assessment for specified hazards or opportunities, with emphasis on locational aspects.
  • Characterizing the sequence of events that may lead to the causation of the selected risks and opportunities (fish-bone diagram
  • Understanding the consequences of their occurrence (bow-tie diagram)
  • Performing a quantitative risk analysis and categorization the risks according to their likelihood and magnitude of their impact (risk matrix)
  • Describe various risk mitigation options which would be associated with the proposed surveillance system
  • Multi-criteria risk assessment

    As most of the risks associated with shipping traffic in the Arctic involved multiple consequences, and many of them exhibit spatio-temporal variations, this model will serve to enhance and integrate the above mentioned risk studies incorporated into vulnerability maps in GIS with the possibility of combining the information into risk indexes for specific hazards.

    Ice statistical computation

    The ice median map shows the different POLARIS RIO indexes computed per week for the IA ship category. Dr. Etienne used here the Canadian Ice Service maps from 2007 until 2014. The minimum values correspond to the worst case scenario and the maximum values correspond to the best case scenario. The areas in green are opened to navigation, the areas in yellow can be entered but only at low speed. In the areas coloured in orange the vessel must require an ice-breaker escort and the red areas are NO GO zones.

    POLARIS Index per Safety Control Zone

    Dr. Etienne computed per month the POLARIS Index surface per safety control zone and for IA ship category. The animated map below shows a quick example of the surface ratio per control zone. The legend must be read as the one used in the map above.

    Inter-annual sea ice variability

    The Dalhousie team is currently working on the possibility of understanding when and where the variability is likely to be encountered. The objective is to discuss how the increasing variability in ice conitions is challenging conventional wisdom among Arctic shipping operators and regulators. The approach in this case is to capture the uncertainty for each ship type in each Safety Control Zones (AIRSS Standards – TP 12259 Appendix A – Zones Map). The boxplots below show the results for a 1A vessel operating in Zone 13.

    Decision models

    The traffic and risk models must be placed into a decision support frameworks to produce the maximum benefit. Two timeframes will be considered:

    The strategic decision models required for Arctic applications present novel circumstances due to the great distances required to get on-scene, and the harsh operating conditions.