Action when ice is sighted by Duty Officer or Officer on Watch ? |

Action when ice is sighted by Duty Officer or Officer on Watch ?


  • All ice is dangerous to navigation and should be reported to Master immediately on sighting.
  • The OOW should alter the course away from the immediate danger in accordance with SI No.534.
Subsequent actions by OOW
  • Plot the position of the Ice, observe and note description.
    • Estimate size of the ice cake.
    • Take care when position fixing with fast ice.
    • Avoid totally if possible – unlike brash ice.
  • Enter a statement into the logbook with time and dates.
  • Engine room on immediate standby, if not already on this position.
  • Post extra lookouts and brief them regarding ice sightings and recognition.
  • Revert to manual steering.
  • Obtain latest Ice reports and compare with chart limits.
  • Reduce speed and approach with extreme caution, if unavoidable.
  • Keep Master informed of the progress.
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Obligatory reports are required from masters of ships which encounter dangerous ice on route.

The ice report should contain the following information:
  1. The type of ice observed.
  2. The position of the observed ice.
  3. The GMT and the date of observation.

Shipping reports should additionally include the size and shape of ice formations as this will aid iceberg identification. Such facts as the thickness of ice, the sea temperature and the concentration of ice (in 10 this) would all be considered relevant.

  •  It should be noted that the SOLAS convention also requires that the Master ofacton 1
  • It is not unusual to stop the vessel at night when navigating inside ice limits. This would most certainly be prudent action if ship’s radars were considered unreliable for any reason.
Masters subsequent actions

A Master should send an obligatory report made by all available means to ships in the vicinity and to the nearest coast radio station or signal station. The report should be made in English for preference or by the International Code of Signals. If sent by radiotelegraphy, the message should be preceded by the safety signal “TTT” and if by radiotelephony, the spoken word “SECURITE”; repeated three times in each case.

Report Content

  1. Ship’s name and port of registry.
  2. Date and GMT of the observation.
  3. Type of ice observed.
  4. Position of ice observed.
  5. Concentration and thickness, if known.
  6. Icebergs; size and shapes.
  7. The sea temperature.


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