Her comments on the impending Polar Code and the pollution prevention measures being adopted follow news that the Polar Code is expected to take effect on 1st January 2017 via amendments to the SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) and MARPOL (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Conventions. The Polar Code also includes recommendations and guidelines relating to the mandatory portions of the Code.
“The IMO has now adopted the long awaited Polar Code,” she said. “This code is a reflection of the shipping industry recognising the sensitivity of Arctic ecosystems. The code acknowledges the need for a higher degree of care when navigating polar waters, given the increased trade throughout these regions.
“The impact that the Polar Code will have on operators trading in the region remains to be seen. The Code brings with it numerous requirements for all ships trading in the Polar Regions and therefore a great deal of investment will need to be made by operators.
“The Polar Code is mandatory and comprises of detailed requirements relating to safety, design and construction, operations, training, and the prevention of environmental pollution for all ships operating in Polar Waters.
“It is without doubt that these requirements are necessary, especially given that the standard SOLAS ships are generally considered to only be adequate in open water conditions, where ice coverage is less than 10% and the average lowest daily air temperature is not lower than minus 10 degrees.”