International Ice Chart Working Group Warns of Continued Navigation Hazards in Polar Seas

The International Ice Chart Working Group (IICWG) held its 11th annual meeting 18-22 October 2010 in Washington, D.C. Established in 1999, IICWG promotes cooperation between the international ice services charged with monitoring sea ice and icebergs for maritime safety and brings together the operational ice services of Canada, Denmark (Greenland), Finland, Germany, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden, the United States, and the International Ice Patrol. Seventy-one representatives of ice service organizations from nine arctic nations attended the October meeting, which was hosted by the U.S. National Ice Center and the North American Ice Service. Topics discussed at the meeting included Antarctic ice charting and ice modeling and forecasting.

Following the meeting, IICWG issued a news release warning that sea ice and icebergs continue to present significant hazards to navigation and other maritime activities in the polar seas. Given the increasing maritime traffic in polar regions, IICWG expressed strong support for the continued development of the International Maritime Organization's Polar Code for improved safety of ship operations and for reliable information on current and forecast ice conditions.

For more information, see the International Ice Chart Working Group website: or contact Pablo Clemente-Colón, Chief Scientist, U.S. National Ice Center (Pablo.Clemente-Colon [at]