During its 31st session on 25 November-4 December, the IMO Assembly adopted a resolution on interim safety measures for ships not certified under the SOLAS Convention operating in polar waters.
The resolution urges Member States to implement, voluntarily, safety measures prescribed in the Polar Code on ships not certified under the SOLAS Convention.
IMO’s Polar Code includes additional safety and environmental protection measures for ships operating in Arctic and Antarctic waters. It is mandatory under MARPOL (which applies to all ships) and under SOLAS.
While SOLAS chapter V (Safety of navigation) applies to all ships on all voyages (with some specific exceptions), the other chapters of the Convention do not apply to some categories of ships, sometimes termed “non-SOLAS ships”.
These include cargo ships of less than 500 gross tonnage, pleasure yachts not engaged in trade and fishing vessels.
In a quick Poll in early 2019, SAFETY4SEA asked people of the industry if the Polar Code is enough to ensure safety & environmental protection of seafarers, passengers and Arctic people.
The majority (74%) of the participants replied no, while just 26% are satisfied with the application of the Code.