Planning the safe transit of a ship through a mapped minefield

  • JF Bekker Department of Industrial Engineering, Stellenbosch University
  • JP Schmid Institute for Maritime Technology


Sea minefields obstructing naval missions have to be breached with minimum effort and acceptable risk. With the advent of autonomous mapping, it is feasible to have high quality information of obstructing sea minefields and their environment before moving into them. The challenge remains to use this knowledge optimally to minimise risk, time and effort in crossing the sea minefield. To achieve this, two interlinked processes are required, consisting of finding the shortest route with acceptable risk or route with minimum risk through the sea minefield, and if no route of acceptable risk exists, removing the optimum combination of sea mines to create a route of acceptable risk. This paper describes the use of Dijkstra’s Algorithm and a genetic algorithm to achieve practical strategies and a method in which two optimisation techniques interact to provide a safe route considering the risk of both the sea mine and the environment and making it applicable to sea mine avoidance. This methodology may readily be applied to general ship routing in risk areas and may be expanded to routing through any area where no known routes exist.


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