Winter navigation is a complex but common operation in north-European sea areas. In Finnish waters, the smooth flow of maritime traffic and safety of vessel navigation during the winter period are managed through the Finnish-Swedish winter navigation system (FSWNS). This article focuses on accident risks in winter navigation operations, beginning with a brief outline of the FSWNS. The study analyses a hazard identification model of winter navigation and reviews accident data extracted from four winter periods. These are adopted as a basis for visualizing the risks in winter navigation operations. The results reveal that experts consider ship independent navigation in ice conditions the most complex navigational operation, which is confirmed by accident data analysis showing that the operation constitutes the type of navigation with the highest number of accidents reported. The severity of the accidents during winter navigation is mainly categorized as less serious. Collision is the most typical accident in ice navigation and general cargo the type of vessel most frequently involved in these accidents. Consolidated ice, ice ridges and ice thickness between 15 and 40cm represent the most common ice conditions in which accidents occur. Thus, the analysis presented in this article establishes the key elements for identifying the operation types which would benefit most from further safety engineering and safety or risk management development.
The wintertime maritime traffic operations in the Gulf of Finland are managed through the Finnish-Swedish Winter Navigation System. This establishes the requirements and limitations for the vessels navigating when ice covers this area. During winter navigation in the Gulf of Finland, the largest risk stems from accidental ship collisions which may also trigger oil spills. In this article, a model for managing the risk of winter navigation operations is presented. The model analyses the probability of oil spills derived from collisions involving oil tanker vessels and other vessel types. The model structure is based on the steps provided in the Formal Safety Assessment (FSA) by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and adapted into a Bayesian Network model. The results indicate that ship independent navigation and convoys are the operations with higher probability of oil spills. Minor spills are most probable, while major oil spills found very unlikely but possible.