A goal-based approach for selecting a ship's polar class

Martin Bergström*, Fang Li, Mikko Suominen, Pentti Kujala

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
66 Downloads (Pure)


Following the International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code), ships operating in ice-covered polar waters must comply with an appropriate Polar Class (PC) or equivalent ice class standard. For the selection of an appropriate Polar Class, ship designers and operators are encouraged to use the Polar Operational Limit Assessment Risk Indexing System (POLARIS). A limitation of POLARIS is that it does not consider the extent to which a ship operates in various ice conditions, and thus also not the probabilistic nature of ice loading. To address this limitation, this article outlines a goal-based approach that is intended to complement POLARIS when selecting a ship's Polar Class. Following the proposed approach, the appropriateness of a ship's minimum required Polar Class as determined using POLARIS is evaluated by assessing the ship's long-term extreme ice loads, and by relating these to the design loads behind the considered Polar Class standard. To account for the probabilistic nature of ice loading, the approach calculates a ship's long-term extreme ice loads considering its intended operating profile and expected ice exposure. This is achieved by synthesising a modified version of the so-called event-maximum method, discrete-event simulations, and satellite ice data. The utility of the proposed approach is demonstrated through a case study, in which it is used as a complement to POLARIS to select an appropriate Polar Class for a double-acting ship intended for year-round independent operations along the northeast coast of Canada.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103123
Number of pages21
JournalMarine Structures
Early online date19 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Arctic shipping
  • Discrete-event simulation
  • Ice class
  • Polar code
  • Ship design


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