The PolarMARV Framework

PolarMARVs are ice-breaking vessels adapted for scientific research, utilizing the same operational approach used for mobilizing non-polar MARVs. Integrated time-chartered vessel platforms, modular workspace, on-deck operational support (cranes, winches, power, storage, etc.), and logistics support are similar, but specialized for polar operations. Resources and expertise for mobilizing and operating PolarMARVs are available through our existing network of supply and logistics partners.

BV-CombIce-Breaking Ship Platforms

The strategy for utilizing offshore service vessels (OSVs) in the MARV configuration is also applicable to time-chartered icebreaking and polar-capable vessels from the offshore and commercial survey sector. Global Oceans has identified over 40 ice-breaking and ice-capable vessels available for time-charter contract, ranging from 65 meters (215’) to 120 meters (400’) in length, and variably capable of transiting through polar ice from under 1 meter to 4 meters of ice thickness.

These vessels are owned by several fleet operators, with vessels flagged in Finland, Sweden, Russia, Canada, Singapore, Italy and the United States. Global Oceans has access to worldwide databases of polar class vessels that provide specifications, availability, certifications, and costs for these time-charters.

One example of an ice-breaking vessel in this group of ships is shown at right, for the Balder Viking, from Viking Supply Ships, based in Sweden. Open deck space on this vessel for attachment of modular workspace systems is over 600 meters².

Polar-Adapted Modular Workspace Systems

A group of polar-adapted modular laboratories and workshops from Global Oceans supply partner, configured as shown in the section on Modular Workspace Systems, are currently available for mobilization on PolarMARV vessels. Additional polar laboratory modules will be built and made available in inventory as PolarMARV activity increases.


Polar-modulesLike standard modular systems, polar modules are pre-wired for instrumentation and computing, and engineered with clean power supply, waste management, water and gas supply, redundant HVAC and emergency escape. They are certified for global deployment by ABS, USCG, DNV, IMO, SOLAS and Lloyd’s.

PolarMARV modules are additionally insulated and have installed heat tracing within the module shell. Outer steel shells for polar units are manufactured with materials designed to withstand loading, attachment and underway operation to -50°F. Steel shells are stress-tested (Charpy impact test) for brittleness under cold conditions, and pass-certified in the manufacturing process.

Polar-adapted modules are also installed with redundant HVAC and power systems, and have lock-out entry and exit to control internal environmental conditions.

Arctic Logistics

TransportGlobal Oceans port services partner provides specialized polar operations and logistics support through two dedicated groups and logistics offices, for the Arctic and Antarctic. The Arctic logistics coordination office is in Montreal, Canada; and the Antarctic office is in Valparaiso, Chile.

Global Oceans is initially focused on developing capacity for the Arctic to support planned research in this region, and to link the PolarMARV strategy with longer-term strategies for extending and accelerating the acquisition of critical environmental data throughout the region. Working with our Arctic logistics partner in Montreal, Global Oceans has defined the scope of support available for the PolarMARV program in the Arctic.

This includes a capacity for in-field, remote vessel re-fueling with advance fuel deliveries in depot locations such as Port Iqualuit and Port Resolute; support for crew and science personnel change-outs; Arctic transportation, including helicopter service; emergency and medevac services; food and water supplies; spare parts; and other services.

Global Oceans will run Project Management Offices (PMOs) for Arctic region expeditions at locations within the network of facilities operated by our port services partner. In northern latitudes, Arctic PMOs can be run from facilities in Copenhagen, Rotterdam, Halifax, and Sakhalin in the Russian Federation (See map).

Based on specifications and engineering reviews of chartered PolarMARV vessels, our Arctic team will confirm required documentation and protocols, and obtain government certificates, for ice pilotage, winter load lines, and chart requirements; and can provide ice advisors on board for expedition transects, as needed.