Since 1983, Dispatch Ice Pilots, a Canadian organization, has been providing qualified Marine Ice Pilots & Advisors to international shipowners and charterers making voyages into the St. Lawrence Gulf & River ports during the winter months, as well as to  all Canadian Arctic waters including the Greenland Coast.

Typically, these winter voyages into regions with ice formation or ice movement require added insurance.  As an added protection, the use of on-board ice experts adds to the owner’s comfort level and can reduce costly delays or damage to the hull, ballast  or the propulsion systems.

Our Ice Navigators average more than 30 years navigating in confined waters of the Gulf & River of St. Lawrence and Arctic Regions where ice can move unpredictably due to currents or weather patterns. In the Gulf of St. Lawrence vessels are very prone to have ice formation on the topsides and superstructure due to freezing spray.  Not only can this be a hazard to the ship’s stability but can entail costly delays and expenses in its removal once in port.

All our Marine Captains are certified by the Shipping Federations of Canada and other shipping industry organizations. In addition, these Ice Experts all meet the requirements set by Transport Canada as “Ice Navigators” for the Canadian Arctic trade, as per the “Arctic Shipping Pollution Prevention Regulations”.

Over the past 30 years there have been a number of changes in shipping with vessels being more adapted to the environment and their trading areas. Canada has its own specific environment when it comes to trading during winter months on the Canadian East Coast or during summer season in Arctic. Therefore, our ice experts are up to date with the latest technology and they are able to assist in advising in all matters related to the vessel’s operations in extreme cold weather conditions, besides the actual ice navigation. 

Our strategy is to provide shipowners and charterers a complete service that addresses all aspects of the vessels operation before and while operating in Canadian waters.  The mission of the Dispatch Ice Center is to provide a group of experts in ice navigation with expert knowledge and skills to assist vessels getting to their destination safely and in the most expeditious manner to meet the vessels commitments to its customers.

Every Ice Navigator’s objective is to provide an efficient, safe voyage and protect the Owners / Charterers interest to the highest level possible.


Before the vessel ever enters Canadian waters we are able to provide the following services:

  • Access to the Ice Dispatch Centre to determine the current conditions and a forecast for the coming weeks
  • Consultation with the owners/charterers to determine what the actual voyage may entail & the possible risks
  • Assignment of an Ice Navigator to the vessel
  • Detailed planning of the steps and activities required to execute the voyage including  details of the Ice Advisor meeting the vessel for the intended voyage.