MARIN has drawn-up a new research programme in response to recent developments in the maritime industry. There is an increase of activity in areas where ice, permafrost and low temperatures occur, for example in the Beaufort Sea, the Northeast passage, but also in areas at lower latitudes such as the Caspian Sea. The presence of large volumes of oil and gas in these areas stimulates exploration activities and the development of offshore and corresponding shipping activities. Moreover, close to ice free conditions along the Northeast passage in the summer months stimulate further shipping activities in those areas as it provides a shorter route to some markets.

There are however many challenges to deal with when moving to these areas. This requires a broad spectrum of services, ranging from consultancy on ice conditions and forecasting, concept development, feasibility studies, design and engineering support, up to operational support. Moreover, these developments will need to be balanced with the impacts on the environment and the indigenous people living in the Arctic regions.

A wide range of research topics corresponding to the market needs for operations in ice have been identified, which range from hull design to ice management.

The programme focuses on two research topics:

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