Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 498

Arctic Yearbook 2014 498 The ongoing work at IMO on a mandatory Polar Code has been mainly conducted since 2010 by IMO’s Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Construction and has covered a broad range of themes including: ship’s design and construction; required marine safety and lifesaving equipment; operational training, manning and experience of the polar mariners; and environmental protection challenges. The IMO Marine Safety Committee (MSC) has been considering amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). The proposed draft amendments to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) are being considered by the Marine Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC). MEPC is negotiating the mandatory application of the Polar Code for MARPOL Annexes I (prevention of pollution by oil); Annex II (prevention of pollution by noxious liquids); Annex IV (prevention of pollution by sewage); and Annex V (prevention of pollution by garbage). IMO’s Sub-Committee on Human Element Training and Watchkeeping (HTW) is currently reviewing the critical training and manning requirements for polar operators. Several practical elements of the proposed Polar Code have already been communicated by the IMO. A proposed Polar Ship Certificate would classify a ship for operation in polar waters as one of three types: • Category A - Ships designed for operation in polar waters in at least medium first-year ice which may include old ice inclusions (these ships correspond to IASC Polar Classes PC 1 through PC 5). • Category B - Ships designed for operation in polar waters in at least thin first-year ice which may include old ice inclusions (these ships correspond to IASC Polar Classes PC 6 & PC 7). • Category C - Ships designed to operate in open water or in ice conditions less severe than those included in Categories A and B. These categories provide key flexibility since not all ships are intended for operation in the same ice conditions and importantly, the same polar navigation season. For example, a non-ice strengthened passenger vessel (which normally operates in open water) on a voyage in polar waters during summer would be classified as a Category C ship. The Polar Ship certificate would be approved by the flag state and would include information on polar ship category and ice class; operational limitations; and, required additional safety, communications and navigation equipment. Another practical requirement proposed is the Polar Waters Operational Manual, which will include ship specific information, such as operational capabilities and limitations, for the owners and operators of ships voyaging in polar waters. The IMO anticipates that the MSC will adopt the SOLAS Polar Code amendments in November 2014. The MEPC should adopt the MARPOL Polar Code amendments by April 2015. It is important to note that the Polar Code is anticipated to have both mandatory and recommendatory (non-mandatory) provisions for safety and pollution prevention. Implementation of the Polar Code should begin in May 2015. The IMO mandatory Polar Code will be a seminal and historic international governance regime for the polar seas. During the implementation phase of the Code from 2015-17, it is hoped the United States, as chair of the Arctic Council, will lead the Arctic states in advocacy for the Code within the