Detecting Ice Bergs with Thermal Imaging – Case Study

Posted On: June 26th, 2012, under the Category: News

Detecting Ice Bergs with Thermal Imaging

Ice block and vessel detection with the Night Navigator SOS

Day and night ice detection is vital for safe and efficient marine transit through arctic regions where a collision with an ice berg can cause damage and delay.

Night time travel can be made more hazardous when transitting through areas prone to ice. This is not limited to polar regions. Ice bergs and the smaller derivatives such as bergie bits and growlers, routinely cause navigational problems in shipping routes around the world.

Thermal imaging can aid in the detection of large and small ice bergs by providing a visual representation of the differential between the ambient temperature and the temperature of the ice.


The Importance of Early Detection

The earlier the detection, combined with the confidence in the detection provides a greater response time. Greater response time equals greater object and threat avoidance, thereby potentially saving lives and property at sea.


Ice block and float detection with the Night Navigator 3

Maritime Recommendation for Ice Class Vessels

The Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF – now recommends the use of an infrared camera system for ice-class tanker ships during transit in sub-zero regions. Section 13.13 of the OCIMF Ship Inspection Report (VIQ 5) asks “Is an operational Infra Red camera fitted in the bow for ice observation?”. It is not unusual for these types of recommendations to become an International Maritime Organization (IMO) rule soon after.

Thermal Detection Testing

Through simulation and testing, Current Corporation proved that ice bergs, bergie bits and growlers can be detected using Night Navigator systems.

The testing involved two systems: the Night Navigator 3 with dual fields of view (FoV) of 20° and 6.8° and a Night Navigator SOS with a FoV of 13.8°. Simulated bergie bits were used for testing. Two ice blocks measuring 1.2m x 0.6m x 0.6m (4’ x 2’ x 2’) were placed in the ocean at a distance of 200 meters (656’) from the camera positions. Weather conditions during testing included heavy rain, 14 knot winds and little ambient moonlight.

The results were dramatic. At night, with heavy rain, the ice blocks were clearly visible. The Night Navigator systems have proven that even the smallest potentially harmful ice hazard can be detected through thermal imaging.

Night Navigators aid in navigation and ice detection for a variety of applications including: ice class vessels, offshore support vessels, yachts, research vessels and Coast Guard.

Current Corporation continually invests in Night Navigator R&D for a diverse range of applications including anti-piracy, whale and whale spout detection, and extreme weather search and rescue.

~ Current Corporation

Watch video of Night Navigator ice detection

Download PDF: Night Navigator Case Study-Iceberg Detection

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