The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and the University of Alaska have completed a research project assessing the ability of existing offshore structural designs to survive sea ice demands under extreme Arctic conditions.


The study, "Reliability-Based Sea Ice Parameters for Design of Offshore Structures," was intended to know additional sea ice information to supplement ISO 19906 standard and other recommendations.

In the study, BSEE identified critical keel depth and provided an assessment of the suitability of the ISO 19906 recommendations to provide additional sea ice information for the Chukchi and Beaufort seas.

The two-year study gathered data from 16 seasons of ice measurements from both the seas to provide sufficient comparisons of various sea ice parameters including first and last ice occurrence, level of ice, rubble fields, ridges and ice movement.

Upon completion of data evaluation and analyzing a range of annual values, the research team concluded that the current standard of practice within the ISO 19906 is conservative for current structural design parameters.

In order to support these efforts, a dedicated program coordinator in Alaska has been assigned to BSEE to assist with identifying research that advances its regulatory objectives in the Arctic.

The research team is currently working on seven projects to assess offshore engineering technology and conditions faced by operators in harsh Arctic conditions.

The efforts will assist BSEE in understanding how the conditions in the Arctic could impact future regulatory standards.

Image: The BSEE’s study is intended to provide additional sea ice information for the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. Photo: courtesy of Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.