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Sea Ice/Freezing Spray
By: Adrian Santiago, Meteorologist
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With the Northern Hemisphere winter fully upon us, sea ice and freezing spray is a concern across northern waters. Two regions with heavy commercial ship traffic currently being impacted by increasing sea ice are the Baltic and Bo Hai Seas.

While the open waters of the Baltic Sea remain above freezing, many major northern ports especially in the Gulf of Finland and the Baltic nations are currently ?iced in?.

Across the Bo Hai Sea, high pressure ridging across NE?rn China is bringing cold air from Eastern Siberia across major ports such as Tianjin and Qinhuangdao. As a result, port activities will be significantly reduced and traffic will be hindered throughout the next several weeks as sea ice continues to develop. Below is a current image of the sea ice extent across the region.

With El Nino conditions well established during this winter season, we anticipate warmer than average winter temperatures across the northern Sea of Japan, Gulf of St. Lawrence and the coastal Gulf of Alaska which will cause average to slightly less than normal sea ice extent across these regions throughout this winter. WRI continues to closely monitor real-time data to keep our ships and clients well advised when sea ice will be present in view of any danger or operational issues during voyages in these regions.

Freezing spray is also a major concern across the Northern Hemisphere during this time of year. As depicted below, for a vessel transiting from the central North Pacific towards Shanghai, routing via the Sea of Japan would introduce moderate ice accretion when compared to routing south of Japan during a cold intrusion across the area.

WRI closely monitors the factors which cause and contribute to freezing spray: Sea Surface Temperatures, Air Temperatures and Wind Speeds. Vessels under WRI's appointment are advised of the potential hazard well ahead of encountering such conditions and are routed to minimize/avoid the same.

All of the above products related to the winter shipping season are available on the Dolphin site. Weather parameters including air temperatures and wind speeds are updated every 06 hours. Marine parameters including sea surface temperatures and sea ice are updated once a day.

WRI?s sea ice and freezing spray products on Dolphin can assist our clients in monitoring potential shipping hazards. These are a valuable resource in evaluating your fleet?s passages and port calls. Likewise, WRI?s operations team is available 24/7 and is monitoring your fleet for fast/safe and efficient transits.

Revisions to Indian Ocean HRA
By: Mike Dore , Director of Cargo Operations / Meteorologist
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As of December 1st 2015, the High Risk Area of piracy across the Indian Ocean has been reduced in size by BIMCO and its co-sponsors. This reduction reflects significantly lower piracy threat, recent shipping industry experiences and geopolitical developments in and near the Horn of Africa. Below is the revised map and coordinates of the new HRA:

Northern Limit Red Sea: 15N
Northern Limit Gulf of Oman: 22N
Eastern Limit: 65E
Southern Limit: 05S

The previous region that was classified as "high risk" (extending to within 12nm of the Indian coast and S'ward to 12S/78E) now constitutes the Voluntary Reporting Area (VRA). Ships must still register with the proper authorities and report to the UK Marine Trade Operations when transiting through the VRA. While piracy has dramatically reduced, all industry leaders stress vigilance in this region and communication with the authorities in order to continue assessing the situation.

WRI will continue to work with charterers and owners to properly assess the situation in real-time through WRI?s continuous piracy monitoring and in voyage by voyage circumstances to keep your vessels safe and on the optimum route.

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