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 January 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

Matson Announces Quarterly Dividend

Matson, Inc. declared a first quarter dividend of $0.17 per common share, the company’s board of directors announced. The dividend will be paid on March 5, 2015

Hogan Named VP at Newport News Shipbuilding

Rob Hogan has been appointed vice president of manufacturing at the Newport News Shipbuilding division of Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII), the company announced.

Kongsberg Expands Louisiana Office, Training Facility

Kongsberg Maritime has purchased approximately 5.2 acres for new construction on an 82,980 sq ft office and training facility. Construction on the James Business

Legal

Bill Proposed to Repay WWII Merchant Mariners

Congresswoman Janice Hahn (Calif.) and Congressman John Duncan Jr. (Tenn.) introduced the “Honoring Our WWII Merchant Mariners Act of 2015,” which would provide

Shell: UK Should Reduce North Sea Oil Tax

The British government should review a supplementary tax charge on North Sea oil producers as it has made the operation of some fields unrealistic, Shell Chief

China Watching Greece After Port Sale Shelved

China is closely monitoring the policies of the new Greek government after Athens said this week it will stop the sale of a majority stake in Greece's biggest port,

Naval Architecture

Ferus Smit to Launch Newbuild for Symphony Shipping

Ferus Smit announced it will launch Newbuuld 417 on Saturday, February 21 in Leer.   Newbuild 417, a multipurpose vessel to be christened Nordana Sky, is the

Liberian Registry Launches Green Ship Initiative

“We have launched a new initiative to help shipowners improve their green credentials and meet other corporate social responsibilities," said Scott Bergeron, CEO

The Art of Propeller Making

The world’s biggest propellers have their cradle in the North of Germany. MMG – Mecklenburger Metallguss GmbH – has manufactured for more than 65 years propellers for ships,

Marine Science

IMTRA LED For Vessel Control System Integration

IMTRA, the leading manufacturer and importer of quality marine products, through its integration-focused design philosophy, created its entire range of 2- and

Investment Impact in Inland Waterways System

The National Waterways Foundation (NWF) has commissioned and released a two-year, ground-breaking study by the University of Tennessee and the University of Kentucky,

Coast Guard Cutter William Trump Commissioned

The Coast Guard Cutter William Trump was commissioned during a ceremony at Coast Guard Sector Key West Saturday Jan. 24, 2015. The Trump is the 11th fast response cutter in the Coast Guard fleet.

Maritime Safety

Maintenance Woes Led to Digby Ferry Grounding

Maintenance deficiencies and inadequate emergency procedures led to November 2013 grounding of Princess of Acadia in Digby, Nova Scotia    Maintenance deficiencies

Safeguarding Maritime Power Connections

KIRK interlocking products provide safe electrical access during cold ironing, ensuring that ship power cables are properly coupled to shore power junction boxes before energizing.

Australia Bolsters SAR in Indian Ocean Region

AMSA leading program to strengthen search and rescue capabilities in Indian Ocean region   The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said it has commenced

Government Update

Bill Proposed to Repay WWII Merchant Mariners

Congresswoman Janice Hahn (Calif.) and Congressman John Duncan Jr. (Tenn.) introduced the “Honoring Our WWII Merchant Mariners Act of 2015,” which would provide

Dozens Missing off Bangladesh after Boat Sinks

About 40 illegal migrants heading from Bangladesh to Malaysia to look for work were missing on Thursday after their boat sank, police said. A steady stream of

Shell: UK Should Reduce North Sea Oil Tax

The British government should review a supplementary tax charge on North Sea oil producers as it has made the operation of some fields unrealistic, Shell Chief

Arctic Operations

Shell: UK Should Reduce North Sea Oil Tax

The British government should review a supplementary tax charge on North Sea oil producers as it has made the operation of some fields unrealistic, Shell Chief

Shell Eyes Arctic Drilling this Summer

Oil major Shell wants to revive its Arctic oil drilling programme this year after a near two-year suspension, angering environmentalists who say the risk of an oil spill is too high.

‘Landmark Year’ for RS in 2014

For Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RS), 2014 marked the 101st year of its activities. The classification society said 2014 also marked a landmark year,

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Pod Propulsion Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Sonar
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: 0.3592 sec (3 req/sec)