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Satellites guide ships in icy waters through the cloud

07 November 2017

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In late August, the 60 m-long US Coast Guard Cutter Maple completed its navigation through the Arctic's ice-ridden Northwest Passage. While this was not the first time ships had taken this route, it was the first time that the International Ice Patrol had provided iceberg information based exclusively on satellite imagery.

When the Maple departed from Alaska in mid-July en route through the Arctic to Maryland, USA, the IIP was on guard to assist the crew to navigate through the notoriously icy waters.

The IIP used data from the Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellite mission, among others, to create charts showing the risk of encountering icebergs after exiting from the Northwest Passage and during transit through the Baffin Bay, Davis Strait and Labrador Sea.

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