The increased activity related to the oil and gas industry in polar waters implies that proper operation of ships such areas also will be in focus. The loading on a particular ship hull depends strongly on the route selection and vessel speed. Lack of information about the actual ice condition and the corresponding loads acting on the hull is identified to be among the most critical factors when operating in Arctic waters. This implies that there is a challenging interaction between strength-related design rules and schemes for operation of ships in arctic regions. In particular, the possibility of monitoring ice-induced stresses in order to provide assistance in relation to ship manoevering becomes highly relevant. The present paper is concerned with estimation of ice loads acting on the hull of the coast guard vessel KV Svalbard based on strains that were measured during the winter of 2007 as part of a project headed by DNV. Application of a finite element model of the bow structure is also applied in order to correlate the loading with the measured strains. The influence of ice thickness and vessel speed on the measured strain levels is also investigated.

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