Northern Sea Route development: space technology

10 Января 2011
В СМИ (до 2012)
In 2010 the service of operational satellite-based radar monitoring was widely applied by FSUE “Atomflot” for ice situation monitoring along the Northern Sea Route. Under the contract, reception and processing of radar images from RADARSAT-1 satellite was carried out by ScanEx specialists using proprietary distributed network of receiving centers in Moscow, Megion and Magadan.

In April-December 2010 FSUE “Atomflot”, supervising the activities of the Russian icebreaker fleet, used the results of operational satellite imagery for information support of a number of unique ice escorting operations, including the following ships: SCF Baltica large-capacity tanker with gas-condensate onboard completed its experimental trip along the Northern Sea Route in August 2010. Large-capacity ocean class tankers have never been escorted through the NSR before; bulk freighter “Nordic Barents” with iron ore onboard that became the first commercial ship passing through the NSR to China without stopping at ports (September 2010); “Georg Ots” ferry boat, not meant for navigation in ice conditions, became the first in the history of passenger ships passing through the water areas of the arctic seas from Murmansk to the Dezhnev Strait and further on along the eastern Russian boundaries (September-October, 2010); “Rossiya” nuclear icebreaker carried out a winter trip from Murmansk to the east of the Arctic Region (November 2010), following the NSR almost a month after the official completion of summer-autumn navigation season through the NSR.

“Rossiya” icebreaker launched into its late-season navigation to the eastern borders of the Russian Arctic by the request of a Swedish company to ensure the escorting through the NSR from the Beaufort Sea to Europe of the icebreaker tugboat “Tor Viking II”. In summer 2010 navigation period the tugboat rendered services to the Canadian Kulluk drilling rig in the offshore of the Beaufort Sea, when it was free of ice. “Rossiya” icebreaker started escorting the Swedish tugboat on December 11 and successfully led it out to open waters in the Barents Sea by the evening of the December 25.

To assess the ice situation the FSUE “Atomflot” traditionally used the operational radar imagery products. Maritime Operations Headquarters of the “Atomflot” based on analysis of satellite images and hydro-meteorological situation worked out recommendations to the captains of nuclear icebreakers to ensure safe navigation and cost-efficient application of the icebreaker fleet.

In all, within the frames of the contract ScanEx specialists received, processed and operationally submitted to the Maritime Operations Headquarters over 70 scenes of RADARSAT-1 satellite in April-December 2010. Satellite imagery data was transferred to the specialists of the Atomflot via the FtP-server and the closed geoservice “Atomflot-Kosmosnimki” that was created to resolve project tasks based on Kosmosnimki.Ru geoportal.

Economic activity in the Arctic Region has been rapidly developing lately, which requires operational information support, a permanent access to updated and true information about changes in ice situation.

- Joint activities showed that Atomflot specialists have a broad experience of using satellite imagery products for monitoring the situation in the Arctic. Back in the Soviet times radar images of the Ocean-01 series satellites were used for monitoring the northern areas. Nowadays the requirements towards information and possibilities of satellite fleets are much higher. Modern satellite radar are capable of supplying images of 500x500 km in size with a spatial resolution of 100 m, - says Deputy General Director of ScanEx RDC Alexei Kucheiko. In 2011 we will be able to operationally supply images of the Arctic Region from the new RADARSAT-2 satellite in two-polarization mode, enabling to better interpret the ice situation. In should be noted that all reception, processing and product visualization techniques used in 2010 are local.

- Extension of modern space technology application plays sometimes a key role in the issues of an efficient development of the Arctic Region. Further increase in cargo turn-over and activation of the NSR navigation requires introduction of new information support methods. If the draft law on the Northern Sea Route is adopted (soon it is supposed to be submitted to the Russian government for review and then to the State Duma), then it will enable to improve the rules of navigation through the NSR, thus speeding up its development, - resumes FSUE “Atomflot” General Director Vyacheslav Ruksha

Published: GeoConnexion (http://www.geoconnexion.com/geo_news_article/Northern-Sea-Route-development~-space-technology/9728)

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