Marine Operations in Ice Covered Waters of Shallowing Caspian

Current trends show decreasing water level in the Caspian Sea. This has serious consequences for marine operations in the Northern part of the sea. Shallowing waters may limit both access to the sea through the Volga-Caspian channel from the rest of the world as well as internal cargo transit operations to large existing projects at Kashagan and Prorva and to several smaller projects scattered in the Kazakh sector of the Northern Caspian. The ongoing dredging initiatives along the Volga-Caspian and Prorva channels are targeted to cope with intensive backfill due to significant sediment transport. This paper addresses ice related hazards to marine operations in these shallowing conditions during winter. Ice drift across the dredged channels that may push vessels out of the channel and ground them in surrounding shallower waters is the major scenario of interest. This assessment will help in the forecasting of events during operations and the issuing of timely alerts to operators.

Short promotional video containing accessibility analysis for a vessel with 3 m draft, photos from VCC and ice reconnaissance video of grounded vessel in 1981 is available on our Youtube channel.

Iceman.kz continues developing regional connections along the Caspian coast. Collaboration with Prof Bukharitsyn from Astrakhan resulted in delivery of paper to be published in POAC2019 Delft, Netherlands in June 2019. This is a good opportunity to discuss future of the Caspian and exchange opinions from the leading technical specialists in the area of sea ice research.

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