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    Polar Code comes into force

    News // January 3, 2017

    The International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code) came into force on 1 January, 2017.

    The Code, which is mandatory due to amendments to both the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), is designed to protect both the marine environment and the vessels that operate within it and is considerate of the unique risks that are inherent to these regions such as remoteness and climate.

    Companies operating in Polar Regions must ensure that their vessels comply with new rules on:

    • The equipment carried. This extends to clothing with adequate thermal protection, ice removal and fire safety equipment.
    • The design and construction of the vessels. Ships operating in Polar Regions will be categorised in relation to the ice they are operate in, intact stability conditions and materials used in construction.
    • The manning and operations of the ship in relation to receiving ice condition reports. Ships operating within these regions will be required to carry a Polar Ship Certificate and a Polar Water Operational Manual. Navigational officers will have to complete appropriate training for navigating in Polar Regions.
    • The protection of the environment, including the use of fuels and lubricants. Protection against invasive species in ballast water, controls on sewage discharge and treatment plants and the disposal of different types of garbage and chemicals.

    The Polar Code will apply to new ships constructed on or after 1 January, 2017. Ships constructed before that date will be required to meet the relevant requirements of the Polar Code by the first intermediate or renewal survey, whichever occurs first, after 1 January 2018.

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