IMO Adopts the Polar Code

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Monday November 24, 2014

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) Friday announced the adoption of the International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code) as well as related amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS).

"The Polar Code covers the full range of design, construction, equipment, operational, training, search and rescue and environmental protection matters relevant to ships operating in waters surrounding the two poles," said IMO.

Amendments to SOLAS mean that the Preamble, Introduction and Safety Measures sections of the Polar Code will now be mandated for ships trading in polar regions.

The SOLAS amendments are expected to enter into force on January 1, 2017, through the tacit acceptance procedure.

As well as mandatory provisions, the Polar Code also includes recommendations for dealing with particular hazards, including ice, remoteness, and severe and rapidly changing weather.

Because the Polar Code includes both safety and environmental provisions, amendments will also be made to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) to make other parts of the Polar Code mandatory.

The IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) is expected to adopt the Polar Code when it next meets in May 2015 with an aligned date for entry into force applying.

OAO Sovcomflot last month said it was building an Ice Class Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) carrier for use in Arctic waters.