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Sweden testing new Arctic monitoring system

The Swedish Maritime Administration is testing a new tracking system for Arctic maritime traffic as part of the icebreaker Oden’s Arctic expedition.

Maritime traffic in the Arctic is rising dramatically, it notes, adding that the aim of the project is to improve the potential for sea rescue, icebreaker assistance and environmental protection.

The solution is based on using vessels as base stations to communicate information regarding the surrounding traffic, as well as the vessel’s own course, speed position and other relevant data.

The information is interchanged with a shore-based coordination centre via a satellite link. The same satellite link is used for the interchange of navigation routes and other necessary communications between the vessel and the shore-based centre.

MICE (MONALISA Ice) is an R&D project conducted by the Swedish Maritime Administration and the Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg. It builds on the work of the existing MONALISA project, which permits the global monitoring of maritime traffic without the need for shore-based infrastructure, such as AIS base stations or radio communications.

“Sweden has lengthy experience of winter navigation in the northern areas of the Baltic and Gulf of Bothnia. Our expertise is a valuable resource for safety and environmental protection now that new traffic patterns are emerging in the Arctic,” says Per Setterberg at the Swedish Maritime Administration, who is project manager for MICE.

“We are capitalising on the Sea Traffic Management (STM) concept developed within the framework of the MONALISA project by adapting it for the Artic environment.”

According to the IMO, 2013 seems set to be a record year for maritime activity on the Northern Sea Route. There has been a tenfold increase in the number of vessels using the route during recent years. In 2012, 46 vessels sailed the whole route, compared to 34 in 2011 and only four in 2010.

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