The marine insurance sector, like all sectors, wants to see enhanced safety for ships operating in Arctic waters. We would strongly encourage an improved infrastructure to provide the required level of search & rescue capacity alongside suitable places of refuge. We would also like to see updated surveys and more reliable charting of the region. This would assist marine underwriters to quantify the risks involved,

...says Helle Hammer, IUMI's chair of its Policy Forum and co-author of the position paper.

Namely, IUMI's position paper lists a number of considerations to be taken into account when assessing individual voyage risk, including regional rescue and salvage facilities, potential places of refuge, expected weather conditions, experience of crew and the operational performance of the vessel itself.

Historical information - due to the current limited number of sailings and constantly changing ice conditions -  is not available and this is forcing marine insurers to take a more cautious approach to risk assessment, IUMI notes.

When assessing risk for insurance purposes, historical loss data is a key factor, and that's missing for Polar operations. This means that underwriters must assess each voyage on a case-by-case basis. Alongside the availability of suitable infrastructure, IUMI is encouraging insurers to consider the vessel's Polar Ship Certificate and take into account the vessel operator's level of preparedness and planning.

Going forward, IUMI:

  • Supports the implementation of the Polar Code through further guidance, requirements and performance standards.
  • Supports the urgent consideration for an instrument to address non-SOLAS vessels operating in polar waters.
  • Strongly encourages an improved infrastructure in Arctic waters to provide necessary rescue capacity and places of refuge.
  • Encourages more surveys to produce increasingly reliable charts.
  • Participates in the Arctic Shipping Best Practice Information Forum responsible for an information web portal to support implementation of the Polar Code.

Explore more in IUMI's position paper: