Navigation in Greenland


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Safety of navigation in Greenland waters and the Arctic region are two of the Danish Maritime Authority's key areas of interest.​

The safety package if you intend to operate in Greenland waters

Below, you can find a safety package that is of use if you intend to operate in Greenland waters. The safety package contains information about the special Greenland conditions. Several of the documents are only available in English and can be retrieved by clicking the document name below:

  1. Welcome to Greenland waters
  2. Order for Greenland on the safe operation of ships, etc.
  3. Order on technical regulation on the use of ice projectors when navigating Greenland waters
  4. Mandatory Ship Reporting Systems in Greenland
  5. Links to important information when navigating Greenland waters
  6. Precautions in using navigational charts in Greenland waters
  7. Greenland Ice Service
  8. DMI Ice Service and Ice Patrol
  9. Coast Radio information
  10. ArcticWeb Greenland

Cruise ships and increasing merchant ship traffic

Still more cruise ships navigate Greenland waters as a consequence of the increased interest in adventure tourism in Greenland. Now, approx. 40 cruise ships visit Greenland waters every year.

Due to the special conditions that apply to operation in Arctic, icy and desolate areas as well as a search and rescue preparedness that has been adjusted to common emergencies, the Danish Maritime Authority has issued special regulations for safe navigation in Greenland waters. The regulations concern, inter alia, prohibitions against operation in unsurveyed areas, prohibitions against open lifeboats, requirements for the navigating officer's qualifications as well as ISM requirements. The Danish Maritime Authority has also introduced regulations on the use of ice projectors.

Long-term goal of regulations on operation in Arctic areas

The Danish Maritime Authority is actively engaged in United Nations' International Maritime Organization (IMO) to introduce globally binding regulations on navigation in polar areas in the form of the so-called Polar Code. The Danish Maritime Authority expects that the Polar Code will become effective in 2017. The Polar Code will contain requirements for ships' construction, stability, equipment, voyage planning as well as the education and training of crews, etc.

Some of the regulations mentioned above have entered into force and are available from the links below:

IMO Polar Code

Order no. 1697 of 11 December 2015 for Greenland on the safe operation of ships, etc.
Order no. 1698 of 11 December 2015 for Greenland on pilotage, etc.
Order no. 1699 of 11 December 2015 for Greenland on the activities of pilotage service providers and the obligations of pilots

Reports on voyages in Greenland

The Danish Maritime Authority has – together with a number of authorities that are responsible for safety of navigation in Greenland waters – published a report containing a number of recommendations for enhancing safety of navigation in Greenland waters. The report, which is available only in Danish, is entitled Safe operation in Greenland waters.

On the basis of the recommendations in the report, a number of authorities have analysed the possibilities of introducing recommended routes. So far, recommended routes have been established around Nuuk. Just now, there are no plans for introducing additional routes, but this may be the case as the planned hydrographic surveys along the Greenland west coast are being finalised and new charts are being published. In addition, buoyant aids to navigation are not practicable in icy waters. The report, which is available only in Danish, is entitled Navigation routes in Greenland waters.

Theme on operation in Arctic waters

You can also read our topical issue on safe operation in Arctic waters.

 CONTACT

Safety of Navigation, National Waters
Flemming Sparre Sørensen, Nautical Adviser
+45 72 19 61 78