Contacts & References

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8.1 Contacts / Inquiries

Transport Canada

Transport Canada should be contacted for questions pertaining to: the Arctic Ice Regime Shipping System, the User Assistance Package, the AIRSS Standards, regulatory issues or any issue related to marine safety. Regarding the Ice Regime System, the After Action Report shall be shall be sent to this address. The office is open during normal business hours, however during the summer months there is a Stand-By Duty Officer that may be reached via NORDREG if required.

Prairie & Northern Region, Marine
Transport Canada ( AMNS )
Place de Ville, Tower C
330 Sparks Street, 14th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0N5

Telephone: (780) 495 - 3833
Facsimile: (780) 495 – 6472

Arctic Canada Traffic System ( NORDREG Canada)

While in Canada’s Arctic, NORDREG may be contacted for: ice information, ice routing and icebreaker assistance. Regarding the Ice Regime System, NORDREG shall be sent the Ice Regime Routing Message. During the summer shipping season this office is staffed 24 hours a day. (More information may be found in the Annual Edition, Notices To Mariners, No. 6 & 26.)

P.O. Box : 189
Iqaluit, N.W.T.
X0A 0H0

Telephone: (867) 979 - 5724
Facsimile: (867) 979 - 4236 or (867) 979 - 4264

Outside of the summer shipping season the function of NORDREG is carried out by the St. John’s MCTS Centre which may be contacted by phone at (709) 772 - 2106.

Canadian Ice Service, Environment Canada

Regarding ice conditions anywhere in the Arctic, or questions concerning a particular ice product produced by the Canadian Ice Service, they are available for consultation by phone from 0730 - 1730 EST (1130 - 2130 GMT ). (See Section 5.5 of this publication for there complete address and methods of communication.)

8.1.1 Roles of Agencies

In the Arctic Ice Regime Shipping Standards - TP 12259 (Tab 9) there are several pages that describe the roles and authorities of the following:

Monitoring Ship Navigation ........................................... Section 10.0, Page 16
The Arctic Canada Traffic System ( NORDREG ) ........ Section 10.1, Page 16
The Regional Ice Operations Superintendent .............. Section 10.2, Page 17
Marine Safety, Transport Canada ................................ Section 10.3, Page 17
The Canadian Ice Service............................................ Section 10.4, Page 18

All of these agencies have an important function within the context of the Arctic Ice Regime Shipping System.

8.2 List of Reference Material

  1. MANICE , Manual of Standard Procedures for Observing and Reporting Ice Conditions, Eighth Edition, Canadian Ice Service, Atmospheric Environment Service, Downsview, Ontario. April 1994.
    Available from: Environment Canada, Canadian Ice Service ATTN : Client Service
    373 Sussex Drive, E-3, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0H3
  2. Radio Aids to Marine Navigation (Atlantic and Great Lakes) or (Pacific) Canadian Coast Guard, Annual Edition 1998. Ottawa, Ont. Phone: (613) 998 - 4931
    From: Hydrographic Chart Distribution Office Sidney, B.C. Phone: (250) 656 - 8358
    Atlantic and Great Lakes ....Catalogue # T51-4/1998E......... ISBN 0-660-17428-6
    Pacific .................................Catalogue # T51-5/1998E......... ISBN 0-660-17429-4
  3. Ice Navigation in Canadian Waters - 1992 Edition, Canadian Coast Guard. TP 5064 E
    Available from: Canada Communications Group - Publishing, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0S9
    Catalogue # T31-73/1992E or F ISBN 0-660-14787-4
    The cost is $24.95 per copy and a third edition could be published in the fall of 1998.
  4. Notices to Mariners , 1 to 46, Annual Edition 1998
    Available from: Canada Communications Group - Publishing, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0S9
    Catalogue # T51-5/1996E ISBN 0-660-15931-7
  5. Marine Survival Handbook for Cold Regions, Canadian Coast Guard. TP 11969 E
  6. Cold Weather Marine Survival Guide, Transport Canada,  Nov. 1992, Revised August 1997,
    TP 11690
  7. Arctic Waters Oil Transfer Guidelines, Transport Canada, June 1994, Revised April 1997.
    TP 10783 E
  8. Proposals for the Revision of the Arctic Shipping Pollution Prevention Regulations, Transport Canada, December 1989. TP 9981
  9. Equivalent Standards for the Construction of Arctic Class Ships, Transport Canada, 1996. TP 12260E
  10. ASPPR Sub - Committee On Training And Certification, March 30/31, 1993 Meeting and Recommendations, TP 12530
    Publications: 5 to 11 are available from: Prairie & Northern Region, Marine - AMNS
    Transport Canada, Place de Ville
    330 Sparks Street, 14th Floor
    Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0N5
  11. Canadian Government Publishing - The source for copies of regulations and government publications (2, 3 & 4 above) which cost a nominal fee. Contact them at: Phone: (819) 956 - 4800 / Fax: (819) 994 - 1998 / Internet: HTTP://

8.3 Additional Material Available to the Ice Navigator

8.3.1 Arctic Ice Regime Shipping System - Video

A video has been produced by Transport Canada with the intent of training both foreign and Canadian mariners regarding:

  1. How to recognize the basic ice types,
  2. How to apply the Arctic Ice Regime Shipping System, and
  3. An explanation of the transition from the Zone / Date System to the Arctic Ice Regime Shipping System ( AIRSS ).

The video is available free of charge in either English or French and in any of the following formats: PAL , NTSC or SECAM. The video forms a component of the User Assistance Package, but is also distributed individually from Transport Canada.

8.3.2 Ice Navigation In Canadian Waters

In Schedule 6 of the Charts and Nautical Publications Regulations there is requirement that Ice Navigation In Canadian Waters be aboard any ship that will be “making a voyage during which ice may be encountered”. The 1992 revised edition of Ice Navigation In Canadian Waters provides a wealth of knowledge pertinent to navigation in ice and every Navigation Officer should be thoroughly familiar with its’ content.

The following sections are relevant to ice information:

  1. Sections: 1.7 to 1.10.3 (pages: 11 - 16) describing the role of NORDREG , Coast Guard Ice Offices and Environment Canada in providing ice information to mariners,
  2. Section: 2.5.2, on page 118 gives a description of INMARSAT ’s limitations, and
  3. Section: 2.7 (pages: 120 - 124) gives a good overview of the various forms of ice information, followed by a description of ice chart features.

The 1992 revised edition has been reprinted during the summer of 1996 to meet commercial demand and in the summer of 1998 the publication will be revised again. The third edition should be available through the Canada Communications Group by the spring of 1999.

Passage Planning:

Unlike route planning for open water voyages, the primary concern in route planning for Arctic voyages is ice avoidance. Although ice capable ships may be inclined to select a shorter distance route which crosses through some ice, the shortest route can easily result in the longest transit time where sea-ice is concerned.

The Sailing Directions - Arctic Canada, Volumes I, II, and III also provide a lot of information that can be useful for passage planning and should be consulted on a regular basis and on all occasions when transiting new routes.

8.4 Arctic Ice Regime Shipping System Software

The Arctic Ice Regime Shipping System Software is contained on four diskettes at the back of this publication. There are several strong attributes that Transport Canada has built into the software and they are:

  1. the software automatically generates (see Section 8.4.5) both reports:
    1. the Ice Regime Routing Message, and
    2. the After Action Report.
  2. the software is completely bilingual for both English and French operators,
  3. after entering some tombstone data for your ship, and the ice concentrations in each ice regime the software will do the Ice Numeral calculation, and
  4. there is an ability to record all the voyage data and if the data is submitted Transport Canada with the After Action Report, the data from your ship as well as those from other vessels would provide support for any future changes to the Ice Regime System.

If you have suggestions for modifications that would improve the software, feel free to contact Transport Canada at the address provided at the beginning of this publication.

8.4.1 Bilingual Use of the Software

The software has been designed in a completely bilingual format and during the loading process individuals will be prompted to open either: the English ( AIRSS ) program, the French ( SRGNA ) program, or either AIRSS Help / SRGNA Aide files. The unique structure of the software allows both English and French operators to use the same software, thus accumulating ice regime data in a common file.

To switch from one language to another, the software must first be shut down and then restarted in the other language. The concept behind this design supports Navigation Officers that work in different languages and at the change of the watch the program would be closed and the data saved before the next watch commences.

8.4.2 System Requirements

  • 486 or Pentium® processor-based personal computer
  • Microsoft Windows 3.1, Windows 3.11, Windows NT 3.51, Windows 95 or Windows NT 4.0
  • 16 MB of RAM for optimal performance

8.4.3 Software Installation

To install the AIRSS Software for Microsoft Windows systems:

  1. Start Microsoft Windows and insert diskette 1/4 in drive A.
    1. For Windows 3.1, Windows 3.11 or Windows NT 3.51
      In the Windows Program Manager, choose File then Run.
    2. For Windows 95 or Windows NT 4.0
      From the Start menu button, select Run
  2. In the Command Line box, type a:\setup and then select the OK button.
  3. Follow the instructions on your screen. The setup leads you through the installation process, insert the succeeding setup disks. When the process is complete, the software is automatically placed in the Program Menu under the title " T.C. AIRSS Software". The software is now loaded.
  4. When you go to use the software for the first time a Dialogue Box will appear asking “Where is Airssdat.MDB?” Click with your left mouse button airssdat.mdb in the big box on the left side. Click OK. With this step you are telling the computer where to find the data base and this box will not appear again.

8.4.4 Software Program Sections


Ship / Escort Info
This is the FIRST section a new user should go to. This form contains the tombstone information describing the vessel, crew and escort, and it is used continually throughout the rest of the program.

Voyage Planner
This form is for route planning, and is used to store data for use with the Ice Regime Routing Message section of the program.

Voyage Log 
This form is used for logging ice observation while the ship is underway and in ice. The data from this form is used for generating an After Action Report.

Review Log
This form is for review and editing of the logged ice observations saved from the Voyage Log section.

Routing Message 
This form is used to generate an Ice Regime Routing Message (hard copy or computer file) for NORDREG .

After Action
This form is used to generate an After Action Report (hard copy or computer file) for Transport Canada.

Title Changes
While filling out the tombstone data in the ‘Ship/Escort Info’ section, there is a block called ‘Officer Information’ and if you clicked the left list button there will be a long list of ‘Titles’ to select from for each individual. However, if you have a ‘Title’ that is different from the designed list, this part of the program allows you to add or edit from
the existing titles. This button also the operator to insert an equivalent French translation of the new English Title to permit the software to keep all the data coordinated while running in either language.

8.4.5 Generating Reports

The tombstone data entered when you were in the Ship / Escort Planner section will be routed in the software to the Ice Regime Routing Message and the After Action Report pages. To insert the data into the:

  1. Ice Regime Routing Message go to the Load Route button and select all the components of the route that will form the body of the message.
  2. After Action Report go to the Load Logs button and select the regimes that the ship has sailed in that are to be placed in the report.

After either message has been constructed, choose the < Save Info button. From here it is just like any other computer program in that you just create a file name an select a place to store the files. This will also be the time to copy the report(s) to a diskette to be placed in the mail.

8.4.6 Software Notes

  • Pressing Ctrl-D while the cursor is in a Latitude or Longitude text box will insert a degree sign.
  • Double clicking most time/date fields will reset the item to the current computer time, therefore if the computer clock is set to UTC you can easily set the date/time information to the current UTC . You can set the computer clock in the CMOS by (typically) pressing the 'Delete' key when your computer is first turned on (booted).
  • CAUTION - Only change the CMOS time and/or date values - don't change any other settings if you are unsure of the result.
  • Double clicking on purple-sunken fields on the Ship/Escort form will allow you to edit the fields. White-sunken fields can be normally edited.
  • Raised fields can not be edited.
  • Records on the Review Log (Review/Edit) must be unlocked before editing.

8.5 Canadian Ice Service’s Arctic Ice Information Manual

In association with the User Assistance Package, the Canadian Ice Service of Environment Canada has created an Arctic Ice Information Manual that explains what types of ice information products are available, how to get them to a ship and their cost. This 1½” binder will be available upon request from the Canadian Ice Service. Each section of the Arctic Ice Information Manual is briefly described below:

8.5.1 MANICE (Manual of Standard Procedures for Observing & Reporting Ice Conditions)

MANICE is the authoritative publication that completely describes, in detail the procedures of the Atmospheric Environment Service for observing, recording and reporting all ice conditions which includes: Sea, Lake, River Ice and Ice of Land Origin - Icebergs. It describes all the procedures, coding, terminology and symbology that are compatible with the World Meteorological Organization’s ( WMO ) nomenclature. The primary benefit of this publication to mariners lies within Chapters One and Three. The first chapter contains a complete list of ice terminology, and the third chapter, starting in section 3.4, describes how the “Egg Code” is structured and after reading the next few pages any ice chart or product can be easily read no matter how complex the chart may appear. (This publication is available individually from the address given in the List of Reference Material on page 38.)

8.5.2 Canadian Ice Service - Brochure

This four page document explains the role of the Canadian Ice Service which is to promote safe and efficient marine operations through accurate and timely ice information.

8.5.3 Catalogue of Ice Information Products and Services

The catalogue contains the details of the ice information products & services available from the Canadian Ice Service. It will answer questions regarding availability, resolution, and distribution ( BBS , Fax, Mail...).

8.5.4 Client Service - Price and Products List

The Price and Product List is just states what types of ice information products are available and how much they cost.

8.5.5 BBS User’s Guide / Dial-In Service

This manual explains how mariners, either ashore or at sea can obtain a wide variety of Canadian Ice Service products through either: the Bulletin Board Service or “ BBS ”, the “Fax Back” system or the Internet / World Wide Web Home Page.

8.5.6 MSAT Telephone Service

This small section contains a number of commercially prepared fliers that describes the MSAT equipment and the variety of services available.

8.5.7 Canadian Arctic Ice Climatology Notes

This document offers an understanding of seasonal ice distribution patterns in the Arctic and the interrelationship between meteorological and oceanographic factors.

  • Temperature
  • Wind
  • Bathymetry
  • Currents
  • Ice Thickness
  • Variations

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