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This letter discusses the potential of automatic ship detection in ice-infested waters based on satellite synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery. The popular K -distribution is used to model the backscatter statistics of sea ice clutter. The goodness of fit of this model is assessed with the Kolmogorov-Smirnov and Anderson-Darling test statistics for both VV and VH polarizations. We also test the impact of introducing the Method of Log Cumulant (MoLC) estimator for the shape parameter of the K-distribution. Finally, a constant false-alarm rate ship detection algorithm, applying the K -distribution with the MoLC estimator, is evaluated on dual-polarization RADARSAT-2 SAR data. Our results demonstrate that this is a viable approach to ship detection in ice-infested waters.