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

People & Company News

Gazprom Transgaz Ufa Organizes Arts Festival

Over 200 healthy children and children with disabilities from Bashkortostan as well as the Volga Region participated in the Breaking the Barriers second interregional children’s arts festival,

President Pryor Retires from ExxonMobil Chemicals

Stephen D. Pryor, president, ExxonMobil Chemical Company and vice president of Exxon Mobil Corporation, has elected to retire on January 1, 2015, after more than 44 years of service.

Steven Palazzo Visits HII, Newport

Huntington Ingalls Industries today hosted Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., for a tour of the company's Newport News Shipbuilding division. Palazzo represents the fourth district of Mississippi,

Legal

Oil Deal Between Iraqi Kurdistan & Baghdad Welcomed

The United States welcomes an agreement between Iraq's central government in Baghdad and its northern Kurdistan region over the management of oil exports, U.

Canadian Pipeline Expansion Continues

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners said on Friday that crews have resumed survey work related to its Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby,

Orlando Ashford is President, Holland America Line

Holland America Line announced today that effective Dec. 1 Orlando Ashford will join the company as president to lead the award-winning cruise line's brand and business,

Naval Architecture

Video: Reefer RoRo Ship Design Rebooted

Expanding on the Reefer RoRo Ship design release in September last year, naval architects group Knud E. Hansen A/S has continued the development of the new Reefer RoRo Ship design with version II.

CSCL’s New Containership Sets Two World Records

Largest boxship undergoes tests, powered by largest engine China Shipping Container Lines Co. Ltd. (CSCL) ran sea trials from October 17-20 on its newbuilding,

Fulcrum Buys BMT Snyek Technologies

BMT Group announced the sale of BMT Syntek Technologies Inc to Fulcrum Corporation. Fulcrum Corporation, based in Arlington, VA., providies customized services

Marine Science

Everett College to Launch New Research Boat

Everett Community College’s Ocean Research College Academy (ORCA) will launch its new research vesel on November 22 with a celebration at 11 a.m. at the Port of Everett.

EMGS to Map Brazil's Gas Hydrates

Electromagnetic Geoservices ASA (EMGS) has received a contract worth USD 1.5 million for a research project in Brazil. The project will use 3D EM data to map

IMO Steps Up Safety in Polar Waters

United Nations’ International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adopted global, binding regulations to enhance safety of navigation in polar waters. After several years’ intense negotiations,

Coast Guard

7 Rescued from Sinking Freighter Near Haiti

Seven crewmembers were rescued after their 100-foot coastal freighter began taking on water and sank approximately 45 miles north off of Cap Haitien, Haiti, Friday.

Update: Explosion in the Gulf of Mexico

An explosion occurred aboard a production platform Thursday at West Delta 105, operated by Fieldwood Energy, resulting in one fatality and three injured. The Bureau

Seaspan Shipyard's Prompt Response to Canadian Coast Guard

Seaspan Shipyard’s long-standing relationship with the Canadian Coast Guard was proudly showcased in recent days, with simultaneous repair and maintenance work

Maritime Safety

7 Rescued from Sinking Freighter Near Haiti

Seven crewmembers were rescued after their 100-foot coastal freighter began taking on water and sank approximately 45 miles north off of Cap Haitien, Haiti, Friday.

USS Oscar Austin Deploys to 6th fleet

Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79) departed Naval Station Norfolk Nov. 21 for a deployment to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR).

IMO Steps Up Safety in Polar Waters

United Nations’ International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adopted global, binding regulations to enhance safety of navigation in polar waters. After several years’ intense negotiations,

 
 
Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Pod Propulsion Port Authority Ship Electronics Ship Repair Ship Simulators
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: 0.2396 sec (4 req/sec)