Maritime safety

Reducing risks by winter navigation research

Promoting safety at sea is one of Merikotka’s main goals. Our research focuses on risk management and improving the safety of maritime transport in winter. The research work is done by Professor Pentti Kujala’s research team from the Aalto University and the logistics and maritime transport research group from the South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences.

In winter, ships encounter challenges

Nature in the Baltic Sea region is fragile and easily damaged. In winter, sea conditions are often challenging. If the ice situation is difficult, ships may find travelling impossible and become stuck in the ice. Ice walls and large ice floes can also harm ships. When navigating narrow routes through the ice, ships may also collide with each other. This is why it is important that ships used in winter navigation are designed to endure the challenges posed by these conditions.

Our goal is to increase the amount of knowledge available, thus improving maritime safety in winter conditions. We study the interactions between ice and ship structures and develop methods of simulating ship movement through ice fields. In addition to running computer simulations, we also perform measurements on board vessels passing through ice and test scale models in the Aalto University Ice Tank.


Risk analysis

We also perform highly demanding safety and risk analyses. We assess both new technologies and related sociological factors. We assess which types of marine traffic situations may lead to accidents, how ships could be damaged in these scenarios and what type of consequences this could create. We also study the best ways to manage maritime safety, both on board ships and in maritime transport as a whole. We look for the innovative ship design solutions that best promote safe seafaring.

A strong presence in society

Communication, working to influence decision-making and extensive co-operation with various organizations is important when promoting maritime safety. We educate the decision-makers who are responsible for maritime safety, communicate actively about the work we do and participate in industry events.

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Osiris Valdez Banda Associate professor Aalto University Osiris Valdez Banda is an Assistant Professor of Marine Technology, leading the Research Group on Safe and Efficient Marine Systems at Aalto university. His research focuses on the analysis of marine risks and safety systems engineering with applications in the concepts of smart shipping and ship winter navigation. His work focuses on the development of methods, processes and tools for modelling and analysing the risks, safety and efficiency of the entire maritime ecosystem with focus on guiding the ship design processes and the management of maritime traffic operations.

Mashrura Musharraf Associate professor Aalto University Dr. Mashrura Musharraf joined the Marine Technology group at Aalto University in early 2021 as an Assistant Professor. She received her PhD (2018) and M.Eng. (2014) in Computer Engineering from Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada. She has been an active researcher since 2012 with a vision to apply data mining, machine learning, and AI techniques to build and deploy human-centered systems and solutions and create a safer marine industry. Her expertise includes knowledge elicitation from subject matter experts, human performance data collection by conducting full-scale experiments in marine simulators, integration of different data types, and predictive and diagnostic data analysis using machine learning methods. The choice of the analytic tools used in her research is heavily influenced by their interpretability. As the foundations for futuristic ships are being set, her current and future research aims to achieve interpretability and transparency of the AI algorithms that would govern the decision-making in ship design and operation.