IMO Tackles Shipping in Polar Waters

marinelink.com
Thursday, January 23, 2014
Photo: vessels operating in ice environment (IMO)

Development of an international code of safety for ships operating in polar waters (Polar Code), IMO is developing a draft mandatory International Code of safety for ships operating in polar waters (Polar Code).
 
The work is being coordinated by the  Sub-Committee on Ship Desgin and Construction (SDC)  - formerly the  Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Equipment (DE). During 2013, the DE sub-Committee  made significant progress in further developing the draft Polar Code, in particular with the finalization of a draft chapter on environmental protection. An intersessional meeting of the Polar Code Working Group was held in October 2013, to further progress the work. A working group during the session further developed the technical parts of the draft Code. The aim is to finalize the draft Code in 2014 for adoption by the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) and Marine environment Protection Committee (MEPC).
 
The Polar Code is intended to cover the full range of shipping-related matters relevant to navigation in waters surrounding the two poles – ship design, construction and equipment; operational and training concerns; search and rescue; and, equally important, the protection of the unique environment and eco-systems of the polar regions. Agreement in principle ha been reached on definitions for the different categories of ship to be covered by the Code, as follows:
 

  • Category A ship means a ship capable to operate at least in medium first-year ice which may include old ice inclusions in accordance with an ice class at least equivalent to those acceptable to the Organization.
  • Category B ship means a ship capable to operate in sea ice conditions other than those included in Category A with an ice class at least equivalent to those acceptable to the Organization.
  • Category C ship means any ship which is not a Category A or Category B ship.

 
It has been agreed that that all ships operating in polar waters should have a Polar Ship Certificate and a Polar Water Operation Manual.
 
As instructed by the main committees, it has been agreed that the Polar Code would be adopted by separate MSC and MEPC resolutions, with amendments to mandatory instruments to be developed to make the Code mandatory. This would also impact on the structuring of the Code.
 
A Polar Code correspondence group is contiuing the work.
 
Background
The safety of ships operating in the harsh, remote and vulnerable polar areas and the protection of the pristine environments around the two poles have always been a matter of concern for IMO and many relevant requirements, provisions and recommendations have been developed over the years.
 
Trends and forecasts indicate that polar shipping will grow in volume and diversify in nature over the coming years and these challenges need to be met without compromising either safety of life at sea or the sustainability of the polar environments.
 
Ships operating in the Arctic and Antarctic environments are exposed to a number of unique risks.  Poor weather conditions and the relative lack of good charts, communication systems and other navigational aids pose challenges for mariners.  The remoteness of the areas makes rescue or clean up operations difficult and costly.  Cold temperatures may reduce the effectiveness of numerous components of the ship, ranging from deck machinery and emergency equipment to sea suctions.  When ice is present, it can impose additional loads on the hull, propulsion system and appendages.
 
IMO is currently developing a draft International code of safety for ships operating in polar waters (Polar Code), which would cover the full range of design, construction, equipment, operational, training, search and rescue and environmental protection matters relevant to ships operating in the inhospitable waters surrounding the two poles.
 
The Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Construction (SDC) (previously Ship Design and Equipment) is coordinating the work, reporting to the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) and Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) .
 
The move to develop a mandatory Code follows the adoption by the IMO Assembly, in 2009, of Guidelines for ships operating in polar waters (Resolution A.1024(26)), which are intended to address those additional provisions deemed necessary for consideration beyond existing requirements of the SOLAS and MARPOL Conventions, in order to take into account the climatic conditions of Polar waters and to meet appropriate standards of maritime safety and pollution prevention. The Guidelines are recommendatory.
 
Whilst Arctic and Antarctic waters have a number of similarities, there are also significant differences.  The Arctic is an ocean surrounded by continents while the Antarctic is a continent surrounded by an ocean.  The Antarctic sea ice retreats significantly during the summer season or is dispersed by permanent gyres in the two major seas of the Antarctic: the Weddell and the Ross.  Thus there is relatively little multi-year ice in the Antarctic.  Conversely, Arctic sea ice survives many summer seasons and there is a significant amount of multi-year ice.  Whilst the marine environments of both Polar seas are similarly vulnerable, response to such challenge should duly take into account specific features of the legal and political regimes applicable to their respective marine spaces.
 
Protection of the Antarctic from heavy grade oils

A new MARPOL regulation, to protect the Antarctic from pollution by heavy grade oils, was adopted by the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), at its 60th session in March, 2010. The amendments entered into force on 1 August 2011.

The amendments add a new chapter 9 to MARPOL Annex I with a new regulation 43 which prohibits the carriage in bulk as cargo, or carriage and use as fuel, of: crude oils having a density at 15°C higher than 900 kg/m3; oils, other than crude oils, having a density at 15°C higher than 900 kg/m3 or a kinematic viscosity at 50°C higher than 180 mm2/s; or bitumen, tar and their emulsions.
 
An exception is envisaged for vessels engaged in securing the safety of ships or in a search and rescue operation.
 
Voyage planning in remote areas
The IMO Assembly in November 2007 adopted resolution A.999(25)  Guidelines on voyage planning for passenger ships operating in remote areas, in response to the growing popularity of ocean travel for passengers and the desire for exotic destinations, which  have led to increasing numbers of passenger ships operating in remote areas. When developing a plan for voyages to remote areas, special consideration should be given to the environmental nature of the area of operation, the limited resources, and navigational information.
 
The detailed voyage and passage plan should include the following factors: safe areas and no-go areas; surveyed marine corridors, if available; and contingency plans for emergencies in the event of limited support being available for assistance in areas remote from SAR facilities.
 
In addition, the detailed voyage and passage plan for ships operating in Arctic or Antarctic waters should include the following factors: conditions when it is not safe to enter areas containing ice or icebergs because of darkness, swell, fog and pressure ice; safe distance to icebergs; and presence of ice and icebergs, and safe speed in such areas.

Ship reporting in the Arctic region
The MSC, at its 91st session in November 2012, adopted a new mandatory ship reporting system "In the Barents Area (Barents SRS)" (proposed by Norway and the Russian Federation).   The new mandatory ship reporting system will enter into force at 0000 hours UTC on 1 June 2013.  The following categories of ships passing through or proceeding to and from ports and anchorages in the Barents SRS area are required to participate in the ship reporting system, by reporting to either Vardø VTS centre or Murmansk VTS centre: all ships with a gross tonnage of 5,000 and above;  all tankers;  all ships carrying hazardous cargoes; a vessel towing when the length of the tow exceeds 200 metres; and any ship not under command, restricted in their ability to manoeuvre or having defective navigational aids.

 

Source: IMO

Maritime Today


The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter April 2016 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

ABS’ Wiernicki Addresses SUNY Maritime Grads

ABS Chairman, President and CEO Christopher J. Wiernicki addresses SUNY Maritime College graduates, awarded honorary Doctor of Science   Christopher J. Wiernicki,

Moody's Dings Hurtigruten's Outlook Due to Newbuilds

Moody's Investors Service, (Moody's) issued a press release affirming the B2 corporate family rating (CFR), B2-PD probability of default rating, and the B2 senior

ShipDC Launches with New Leader at the Helm

Ship Data Center Co., Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary set up by ClassNK, has officially commenced operations of its big data center, ShipDC, from April 2016. Taking

Legal

IBIA Develops Bunkering Procedure Guidelines

A set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for surveyors has been developed by the International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) to help the industry manage new regulations,

Strikes Cause Stoppage in Greek Ports

A 48-hour strike by the Seamen’s Union in Greece is expected to affect all domestic and local ferry routes as well as commercial vessels calling at Piraeus, Aspropyrgos,

Evergreen Holding Group May Miss Bond Payment

Evergreen Holding Group, an unlisted company that specialises in building boats, issued a warning on Friday that it may have trouble making coupon and interest payments on a bond maturing on May 15.

Naval Architecture

New Pilot Boat Delivered to Sabine Pilots

Sabine Pilots in Port Arthur, Texas has received a new all-aluminum pilot boat, Port Arthur.   With a deep-V hull designed by C. Raymond Hunt Associates, the

BMT Delivers CFD Study for FPSO

BMT Fluid Mechanics (BMT), a subsidiary of BMT Group Ltd., completed a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) study for an oil major operating offshore Nigeria. BMT

Australia Orders Replacement Replenishment Ships

The Government has signed contracts with Navantia S.A. to build Australia’s two replacement replenishment ships, avoiding a critical capability gap.   Australia’s

Marine Science

ICS Pushing For Balanced Update of York Antwerp Rules

At the Comité Maritime International (CMI) Conference, in New York this week, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) will be pressing to ensure that the proposed

Aydin Marine Debuts Multi-Touch K-17T

Aydin Marine – the manufacturer of industry-leading, type-approved displays, computers and peripherals, announced today the release of a 17-inch multi-touch, sunlight-readable

Dryad Maritime Unveil WxConnect

Today, 5th May 2016, Dryad Maritime release WxConnect, a new scalable, managed weather forecasting service for ships and fleets. The launch of the service comes

Coast Guard

Injured Fisherman Rescued off New Jersey

An injured fisherman was rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard on Friday 62 miles east of Cape May, N.J.   A crew member from the fishing vessel Stacy Lee called Coast

Coast Guard, Homeland Security Open Joint R&D Facility

Coast Guard Research and Development Center along with DHS Science and Technology Directorate officially open a new Science and Technology Innovation Center   The

US Aims to Recover El Faro VDR in Next Few Months

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board hopes to recover the voyage data recorder from the cargo ship El Faro, which sank during a hurricane killing all 33 crew on board,

Maritime Safety

Injured Fisherman Rescued off New Jersey

An injured fisherman was rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard on Friday 62 miles east of Cape May, N.J.   A crew member from the fishing vessel Stacy Lee called Coast

From Whales to Silver Foxes to Refugees: EMILY Robot is A Lifesaver

She’s tough—capable of punching through 30-foot waves and riptides or smashing into rocks and reefs. But she’s also tender, providing hope to those in peril.   Meet

US Aims to Recover El Faro VDR in Next Few Months

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board hopes to recover the voyage data recorder from the cargo ship El Faro, which sank during a hurricane killing all 33 crew on board,

Government Update

IBIA Develops Bunkering Procedure Guidelines

A set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for surveyors has been developed by the International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) to help the industry manage new regulations,

Strikes Cause Stoppage in Greek Ports

A 48-hour strike by the Seamen’s Union in Greece is expected to affect all domestic and local ferry routes as well as commercial vessels calling at Piraeus, Aspropyrgos,

Coast Guard, Homeland Security Open Joint R&D Facility

Coast Guard Research and Development Center along with DHS Science and Technology Directorate officially open a new Science and Technology Innovation Center   The

 
 
Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Naval Architecture Navigation Pod Propulsion Port Authority Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1337 sec (7 req/sec)