Polar Code introduction is not going swimmingly

Polar Code introduction is not going swimmingly

Olo: The introduction of a mandatory Polar Code in 2017 appears challenging for owners, operators, manufacturers and class. The topic was discussed at this morning’s Ocean Industry Podium on the sidelines of Nor-Shipping.

Industry bodies and environmental groups termed the final draft Polar Code of 2014 as “too weak” and “diluted”. Pollution requirements have been criticised, and the fact that ice class is not a requirement for ships making some Arctic passages has raised the eyebrows of many.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is currently developing the Polar Code. It covers a full range of design, construction, equipment, operational, training, search and rescue and environmental protection matters surrounding the two poles.

Nils Henriksen, manager of regulatory affairs at lifeboat manufacturer Norsafe, described some of the challenges facing manufacturers of Arctic class kit. Survival and launching kits are different. Exiting a ship in -50 c conditions is tricky and the duration of a stay on a lifeboat in the Arctic is likely to be longer.

The structure of the lifeboats needs to be stronger, while perhaps a gun is needed onboard too, Henriksen said, to keep polar bears at bay.

Kaptain Adreas Kjøl, project director at Viking Supply Ships, said the Polar Code will be beneficial for serious operators.

“One needs to have an operational manual, an International Safety Management Code on steroids,” said Andrew Kendrick, vice president at Vard.

Morten Larsen, an Arctic specialist with class society DNV GL, stressed that there will be challenges with the goal based standards of the new code coming into place.


Hans Thaulow

Hans Henrik Thaulow is an Oslo-based journalist who has been covering the shipping industry for the last 15 years. As well as some work for the Informa Group, Hans was the China correspondent for TradeWinds. He also contributes to Maritime CEO magazine. Hans’ shipping background extends to working as a shipbroker trainee with Simpson, Spence & Young in Hong Kong.

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