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The Arctic is an extremely harsh environment. However, due to climate change, it is rapidly transforming into a navigable ocean.

Only four ships navigated the Northern Sea Route (NSR) off Russia's northern coast in 2010, increasing to 46 in 2012. By 2013, the number of ships reached 71, carrying 1.35 million tonnes of cargo, with this increasing trend set to continue. The potential for the northern shipping route is huge: in 2013 a total of 13,706,000 TEUs (approximately 1,700 ship voyages) were shipped between Asia and northern Europe using traditional routes. Substantial savings in voyage times and fuel consumption can be made using Arctic routes: 22 days from China to Europe, compared to 35 days via Singapore and the Suez Canal and 46 days around South.

SEDNA's main objective is to ensure safe Arctic navigation and enable European maritime transport to fully embrace the Arctic's significant and growing shipping opportunities while safeguarding its natural environment.

Decision Support Big Data

Safe Arctic Navigation

As the shipping routes in the Arctic have opened up comprehensively with the reduction of the extent of sea ice, the number of vessels using these routes has increased dramatically. This takes advantage of the voyage time reduction between Europe and Asia with the great potential impact of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Currently, there is also a need for designing new ships for the new Arctic routes, and the existing vessels being adapted to work on these, are being assessed using the new SEDNA risk-based design framework, adopted by the International Maritime Organisation. More importantly, in SEDNA, the control hub of the ship, the Safe Arctic Bridge, will be technologically advanced to optimise human-machine interactions and critical decision-support.

Specifically, in situ and Earth Observation Big Data processing services will be put in place using advanced data mining and analytics with automated knowledge-based reasoning. Augmented situation awareness on selected shipping routes will be then implemented for achieving safer ship navigations in the Arctic environment.

IT Innovation's Role

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IT Innovation lead the work on the development and deployment of a Big Data knowledge base and services for mining and high level fusion.

A key focus of our work is on developing an Integrated Safe Arctic Knowledge Base, which will integrate dynamic meteorological and oceanographic data with real time ship monitoring and ice movement predictions to support decision making for safer and more efficient Arctic Voyage Optimisation. By giving full consideration to the growing body of knowledge about future ice coverage, seasonal patterns and predicted maritime activity levels, our work in SEDNA will help ensure safer waterborne operations in the polar region.

IT Innovation's technical work in the project is focused on:

  • Deployment of a Big Data knowledge base to support risk assessment and safe route planning for ships.
  • Implementation of open Big Data services for mining and high level fusion of heterogeneous data sources (e.g., satellite, in-situ, and simulation models) to increase the accuracy of estimation of risk conditions affecting ships safety.

Project Fact Sheet

The SEDNA project is a 36 month project funded by the EC H2020 framework programme.

Coordinator: BMT Group Ltd, UK
Twitter: @SEDNA_Arctic
LinkedIn: SEDNA - Safe Arctic Navigation
More information:

European emblem This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 723526.