Transportation in ice-prone waters is a timely topic because of the pursuit of natural resources and sea routes. S.A. Agulhas II voyaged in Antarctic waters during the austral summer of 2013–14. This paper studies how the local ice-induced loads on the ship bow are affected by different ice and operational conditions. A hierarchical Gaussian process model was used to study how the load distribution parameters change in different conditions. The operational conditions are described by ship speed, whereas the ice conditions varied from thin, first-year ice, to thick, multiyear ice. Because of this variation, the ice conditions are not represented by ice thickness alone but also by latitude, temperature and voyage time which represent the unmeasured ice strength. The predicted loads from the model match well with the measured loads. According to the model, loads increase in higher ship speed and ice thickness combination, further south, later in the summer and in higher temperatures.