Interest in ice-class tankers has been steadily rising as oil export from Russia’s Northern regions becomes increasingly viable. According to industry analysts, this interest coupled with a regulatory-driven accelerated phase-out of older ships will result in the ice class tanker fleet growing by 18 million dwt by 2008. In addition to ice class Rules ABS has worked with industry to develop a new comprehensive guide for vessels operating in the Arctic and comparable harsh environments. The ABS Guide for Vessels Operating in Low Temperature Environments addresses the unique demands imposed on vessels operating in these regions. “The presence of first year and multi year ice imposes additional loads on the hull, propulsion system and appendages,” says ABS’ Vice President of Special Projects Kirsi Tikka. “However, low temperatures impact the ship in a multitude of other ways and the cold, lack of light and visibility affect the crew.” The guidance provided by ABS encompasses issues related to personnel safety and training as well as special vessel design and operating considerations. Major sections include: materials, welds and coatings; hull construction and equipment; vessel systems and machinery; safety systems; crew considerations; training and related documentation; weather conditions and flag Administration requirements. The guide also addresses the trend toward the design of larger vessels than those currently built for operation in Arctic areas. Vessels designed and equipped in accordance with the optional requirements of the guide are eligible for a special class notation. The notation CCO+ (TEMP) will be listed in the ABS Record with the ambient temperature for which the vessel is designed listed in the parenthesis. For example, CCO+(-30 degrees C). The new guide is intended to be used in conjunction with the previously issued ABS Guidance Notes on Ice Class.