Weather Restrictions Posed on Marine Operations in the Barents Sea

Some marine activities in the Barents Sea are typically year-round; others are dependent on weather-restricted windows. Specific weather conditions marked by unpredictable Polar Low situations during the fall, winter and spring seasons, as well as cold temperatures that also cause sea spray freezing and the potential for drifting ice in some areas of the sea, are the limitations for marine operations. Often, the uncertainties in weather forecasts are high due to these concerns and a small number of weather stations in the region, and operations that take more than a day or two may see significant weather changes, so it may be anticipated that the operations will have to be abandoned. Wide distances combined with difficult meteorological and oceanographic criteria, as well as darkness during the winter season, must also be understood to be a challenge for evacuation and rescue, should ships and platforms have to be abandoned. In addition, the long distances to the areas farthest from shore are out of helicopter assistance’s reach. These aspects make it important, prior to the introduction of marine operations in the Barents Sea, to perform hazard identification studies and to include all the applicable historical information in the hazard identification session.

Author (s) Details

Ove T. Gudmestad
Department of Mechanical and Structural Engineering and Materials Science, University of Stavanger, Stavanger, Norway.

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