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 Reporter November 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

Madsen to Chair Norway’s Research Council Executive Board

Henrik O. Madsen appointed chairman of the executive board of the Research Council of Norway   DNV GL president and CEO Henrik O. Madsen was appointed as chairman

Port of Houston Expecting Record Year

The Port of Houston Authority is expecting 2014 to close as a banner year for the port, with 34 million tons of cargo handled through November, Executive Director

Hapag-Lloyd Completes CSAV Merger Capital Increase

Hapag-Lloyd completed the planned capital increase of EUR 370 million (approximately $452.5 million) as part of the business combination with the Chilean shipping

Legal

US Plans to Shut Royalty Loophole on Coal Exports

U.S. coal companies will no longer be able to settle royalties at low domestic prices when they make lucrative sales to Asia according to reforms proposed by the Interior Department on Friday.

Denmark Issues New Pilotage Regulations

In an effort to make the pilotage market more efficient, the Danish Maritime Authority (DMA) issued several new regulations following on amendments to the pilotage act.

US Shippers, West Coast Dockworkers Union Resume Contract Talks

Negotiators for shipping lines and terminal operators at 29 U.S. West Coast ports resumed contract talks with the union for dockworkers on Thursday, as cargo backups continued at the ports,

Naval Architecture

MSC Oscar is the World’s Largest Containership

MSC Oscar, the newest cargo vessel built for Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), will launch in January 2015, and at 19,224 teu, the containership will take the record for world’s largest.

Waterjet-propelled Crewboat Delivered to Petrobras

BS Camburi, a 36-meter Monohull Crewboat built in Brazil by Arpoador Engenharia to the Petrobras type P2 specification has been launched and delivered.   Designed by Incat Crowther,

Damen Responds to Evolving Fishing Practices

Maaskant Shipyards Stellendam meets fishing sector’s growing needs by performing electric pulse fishing conversions   As European fishing policies evolve, so fishing techniques advance.

Marine Science

NOAA: US to See More Floods from Sea Level Rise

Most of U.S. coast may see 30 or more days a year of floods up to 2 feet above high tides. By 2050, a majority of U.S. coastal areas are likely to be threatened

Damen Shipyards Galati wins Dutch Romanian Award

Damen Shipyards Galati has been presented with the Dutch Romanian Business Award for its Corporate Social Responsibility plan, particularly the Group’s community investment initiatives.

Lowrance Renews Insight Genesis College Cup

Lowrance®, a world-leading brand in fishing electronics since 1957— announced today the renewal of its Insight Genesis™ College Cup. In its second year, the

Maritime Safety

NZ Report: Human Error to Blame for Rena Grounding

New Zealand's Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) published its final report into the grounding of containership Rena in October 2011. The TAIC’s

DNV GL Targets Safer Approach to Subsea Lifting

The completion of a joint industry project (JIP) to improve existing standards and regulations around subsea lifting operations has resulted in a new recommended practice (RP).

NOAA: US to See More Floods from Sea Level Rise

Most of U.S. coast may see 30 or more days a year of floods up to 2 feet above high tides. By 2050, a majority of U.S. coastal areas are likely to be threatened

Government Update

Madsen to Chair Norway’s Research Council Executive Board

Henrik O. Madsen appointed chairman of the executive board of the Research Council of Norway   DNV GL president and CEO Henrik O. Madsen was appointed as chairman

MARAD Publishes US ATB, ITB Database

The U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) released what it is calling a first-of-its-kind public database that chronicles U.S.-flagged, privately owned domestic

Costa Rica Approves APM Terminals Project

Port operator APM Terminals, a unit of Denmark's A.P. Moller-Maersk, said on Friday Costa Rica's environment agency had approved the construction of its Moin Container Terminal project.

Arctic Operations

Reports on Rosneft Arctic Projects

On December 18, Member of Rosneft Board of Directors, special representative of President of the Russian Federation on international cooperation in the Arctic

BSEE Attends Arctic Council Meeting

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement’s (BSEE) David M. Moore recently traveled to Seattle, Wash., for a meeting of the Arctic Council Emergency Prevention,

RV Sikuliaq: Modern Electric Propulsion & Power Management

While ships have used electricity to help power vessels for a long time, new and sophisticated diesel-electric technologies are making serious gains in efficiency,

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Pipelines Pod Propulsion Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Repair Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | 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: 0.3004 sec (3 req/sec)