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.

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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.

Pentti Kujala Professor Aalto University

Ville Henttu Research Director South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences