The IMO’s Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue (NCSR), conducted its 7th session in 15-24 January 2020 and amongst major shipping issues, they issued a correspondence group to monitor potential new SOLAS chapters being added to the Polar Code.
Maritime trade between Arctic destinations and the rest of the world is expected to grow and an increasing number of ships are now conducting voyages in polar waters. For this reason, new joint guidelines from the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) aim to support shipping companies by providing advice on how to develop a Polar Water Operational Manual (PWOM).
The Canadian Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Jonathan Wilkinson, announced that the Coast Guard will be provided with six new program icebreakers to replace its current, old fleet of icebreakers.
The Norwegian government introduced new rules for passenger ships in Svalbard, in the Arctic Ocean, in a bid to improve safety and security in this fragile Arctic environment. The rules apply to both Norwegian and foreign ships.
In light of the Ship Systems and Equipment (SSE 6) meeting conducted by IMO’s Sub-Committee on 4-8 March 2019, the participants agreed to draft interim guidelines on life-saving appliances and arrangements for ships operating in polar waters, to ensure they meet the needs for survival in the harsh and specific conditions in Polar waters.
The Australian Royal Navy has deployed its Laser Airborne Depth Sounder (LADS) Flight to Invercargill in New Zealand, to undertake survey operations over Macquarie Island, a 34km long World Heritage listed island that lies approximately halfway between Australia and Antarctica.
Is Polar Code enough to ensure safety & environmental protection of seafarers, passengers and Arctic people? The majority (74%) of the participants in a quick SAFETY4SEA Poll replied no, while just 26% are satisfied with the application of the Code. But what lies behind this negative perception toward Polar Code?
Discussing how to move forward with developing possible mandatory and recommendatory measures for ships operating in polar waters which are not currently covered by the Polar Code, IMO’s MSC 100 agreed on a roadmap which could see revisions to SOLAS and/or the Polar Code considered for adoption in 2022.
The change in ice conditions is opening the high Arctic as a trade route, fishing ground and potential tourism destination, but more infrastructure support is required to facilitate the provision of adequate insurance, says IUMI in a new position paper.
In its latest Shipping Review, Allianz noted that climate change is impacting ice hazards for shipping, opening new trade routes in some areas, while increasing the risk of ice in others. Arctic ice has been thinning over the past 40 years, bringing new opportunities for shipping, but also environmental concerns.
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