30 April, 2000

Trafficability Part II


April 30, 2000

Daily Data (20:30):

Lat. 6803.671N

Long. 06317.260W

Heading 45.967

Air Temp. -14.25C 6.44F

True Wind Dir. 277.0

True Wind Speed 6.1

Dear Everyone,

The view has changed significantly since yesterday. The snow and ice levels are much thicker as the Healy continues to charge forward. As the ice conditions become progressively challenging, progress is slower. We no longer see water.

Yesterday another Inuit guide joined our ship, James Qillaq, from Baffin Island. James was flown by a Kenn Borek Twin Otter to an ice floe and picked up by one of our Healy helicopters. We now have two guides, James Qillaq and Stevie Audlakiak, and rely upon their expertise from their knowledge of the climate, ice conditions and the wildlife of their homelands. Terry Tucker, our Co-Chief Scientist, and the Principal Investigator to whose team I am privileged to be assigned, teasingly asked James and Stevie to find "the teacher" a Polar Bear today. So who knows! They just might.

I'm called "the teacher" as in "Hi Teach!", "Good morning, Teacher!", "Need any more clothes, Teacher?", and "Want to learn about electric propulsion systems, Teach?" It's all in good humor and much friendliness. The Healy is not only our workplace, but also our home and our family. The camaraderie was obvious when I boarded.

This morning I received a much-needed second pair of trousers. They're khaki and quite large, but nothing a cinched up belt and rolled up legs can't remedy. This outfit ought to make quite a Kodak moment! Because my checked luggage did not arrive, I'm still getting offers of clothing and supplies.

Yesterday Alex Iyerusalimskiy explained the second purpose of Healy trafficability to me. It is the evaluation of the criteria and conditions under which the ship was designed. For example, the Healy must break 4 1/2 feet of level ice. This is a standard method of presenting performance criteria. This is a definite and measurable objective.

In reality, ice is rarely level. Trafficability deals with ice conditions other than level ice and attempts to sort these varied ice conditions into groups. Through these categories of similar types of ice, the trafficability team links the data to the ship's performance in ice conditions.

If the Healy has two engines running, we can go so fast with a specified number of horsepower. If the ship uses the same horsepower under differing conditions, then the speed of the icebreaker is different. Or, for instance, the Healy could go into the same ice conditions with two different power levels to make observations under those conditions.

Ice conditions and speed in knots or nautical miles are being recorded continuously. The ice conditions are sorted into groups, the speed is noted and a statistical analysis is completed. At each data point, observations are completed every 30 minutes 24 hours daily and each point is assessed. Assessments are translated into tables and graphs, for example.

Trafficability focuses on the design point of view versus the operational point of view. For example, the stern is just as important in the design as the bow. The Healy must be able to move backwards for backing and ramming. Does the ship perform well when it backs? Does the stern perform as it was designed to perform? Trafficability observes and documents ice conditions to correlate ship performance with conditions.

After my meeting with Alex Iyerusalimskiy, I went to the Main Deck and mazed through the vessel to the science lab area. Then up one deck to the Future Lab to meet with Jim St. John also of Science and Technology Corporation (STC), Columbia MD for the USCGC Healy Ice Trials 2000. Jim showed me the trafficability data collection terminals and explained that trafficability observes ice conditions to explain and correlate with the measurements of ship performance, hull loads and propulsion dynamics.

There are five types of data acquisition systems associated with the Healy's trafficability studies. The rationale of these systems are threefold: To ensure that the USCGC Healy meets the specifications as designed, to gather information useful to the ship for improved operation (for understanding its limits such as loads) and to gather information to be used to design the next generation of icebreakers.

What are some applications of trafficability? Why is it so valuable? The Great Lakes simulations studies for the new Great Lakes icebreaker and the International Northern Sea Route Project (INSROP) are two examples of transportation models. INSROP began in 1993 and was funded by Japan, Norway, and Russia with some parcticipation from Finland and Canada. It has obvious economic interest and value to these countries that could most benefit from the use of a northern sea route.

In the INSROP model, simulations can be run with different cargos under varying conditions and those conditions that affect the progress of a ship can be determined. Model factors such as darkness, visibility (fog, snow), ice (the added expense of the assistance of an icebreaker), for example, can be built into the study. By using information on how the ship operates under various conditions, the model becomes progressively more realistic in terms of cost and feasibility studies.

For insurance purposes, it is in the vessel owners' interest to build their ships to the rules of a recognized classification society such as Lloyd's Register, American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) or Det Norske Veritas (DNV).

Peter Davies of Lloyd's Register from Croydon, England joined my discussion with Jim St. John in the Healy's Future Lab. Peter shared this bit of trivia with me: Have you heard of the expression "A 1"? It is an old term from Lloyd's Register denoting the best or top classification for ships.

Now I'm on my way up to the bridge (three decks up from my stateroom) to find Stevie and James, our Healy Inuit guides. They are teaching me Inuit phrases. Since I'm in their homeland, they tell me I must learn Inuit! They promised to teach me all about polar bears and I can't wait. You'll be hearing about our discussion shortly!

Vocabulary of the day:

Inuit language from Stevie Audlakiak.

Olakot (say "oo law koo"): Good morning.

Krunoupet (say a guttural "kkrh" followed by "newie peet"): How are you?

Best regards,

Sandra Kolb

Jim St. John. photo by Sandra

James Qillaq and Stevie Audlakiak in the Healy bridge. photo by Sandra

Future Lab. photo by Sandra

Peter Davies. Photo by Sandra

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