Ships operating in the Arctic and Antarctic environments are exposed to several risks.  Poor weather conditions and the relative lack of good charts, communication systems, and other navigational aids pose challenges for mariners. The remoteness of the areas makes rescue or clean-up operations difficult and costly. Cold temperatures may reduce the effectiveness of numerous ship components, ranging from deck machinery and emergency equipment to sea suctions.  When ice is present, it can impose additional loads on the hull, propulsion system, and appendages.

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