Labrador Current

The same cold Labrador Current which is responsible for the Newfoundland fogs also brings down icebergs which are pieces which have broken off the Polar icecap and are every bit as dangerous today as they were to the ill-fated “Titanic” although modern detection methods make it far easier to avoid these hazards. This is one way to avoid not only the catastrophic hazards such as Hurricanes but to use the knowledge derived from far more sophisticated weather forecasting to avoid any kind of heavy weather. Take, for example, the North Atlantic in winter where an initial thought would be to take as southerly route as convenient between say, Land’s End and New York to avoid bad weather.  This could prove to be quite wrong as the systems bringing severe weather could just as easily be lurking along that southerly course while further north quite benign conditions prevail. The objective of weather routing services is to advise the ship’s master what weather conditions are forecast for the voyage to the destination concerned (winds, storms, ice, fog, swell, etc.) and to recommend a route which will avoid the worst of these.  The master then regularly sends back to the office of the routing service what conditions are like in his location.  Such information from many ships gives the routing service meteorologists an enormous fund of data which linked with satellite observation enables them to keep their weather ‘picture’ fully up to date.  The service is consequently able to advise subscribing ships of any recommended changes in routing caused by developments occurring after the initial route was worked out. Weather routing has now become so regular an aid to faster and weather-damage-free voyages that it is not uncommon for time charterers to insist upon routing service advice being obtained for all voyages undertaken under their charter.  One further value of such services is that they are able to give impartial evidence should there be a dispute about the effect of weather upon a ship’s speed and fuel consumption performance under a time charter.