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Vessels calling key ports in Northern China’s Bohai Sea and Yellow Sea  are advised to proceed with caution as record low temperatures in the region lead to increased formation of sea ice. 

We have received several inquiries from Members regarding their vessels calling ports in North China with respect to extreme cold conditions in the region. While the area that the vessels call, namely the ports in the Yellow sea and the Bohai sea, fall within the ordinary trading area, mariners are advised to follow all precautions for navigation in cold temperatures and in ice.

One of Gard’s Chinese correspondent, Huatai Insurance Agency & Consultant Services Ltd., has collected relevant information for key ports in Liaodong Bay to assist mariners to better understand the situation in these ports, see our correspondents’ circular No.: PNI 1802 of 1 February 2018 for details.


According to the correspondent, the ice season in Liaodong Bay extends from mid-December until mid-March, with late January and early February being the most severe period and vessels entering the region during this period are recommended to:

  • collect local meteorological information, navigate with caution, and keep proper lookout for ice;
  • when maneuvering in ice, avoid damage to propeller/rudder as well as choking of the sea chest and other seawater inlets;
  • protect sensitive equipment and exposed liquid pipes on deck from freezing.   
  • keep cargoes heated as necessary; and
  • ensure proper safety and welfare for the crew.

Gard's general advice is that, if there is the slightest possibility that the vessel will be directed to a port which may be ice-bound upon arrival or during the vessel’s stay, a proper voyage risk assessment should be carried out. The assessment should focus not only on the vessel itself and her cargo but should also include training of the crew in preparedness for the extreme conditions they may encounter. We would also like to highlight the importance of implementing and adhering to the recommendations offered in IMO’s Guide for cold water survival. For more information and advice, see our website “Ice Navigation”.


We are grateful to Gard’s correspondent Huatai Insurance Agency & Consultant Service Ltd. for providing information about the current sea ice conditions in Northern China.