SHIPPING REGULATIONS & GUIDANCE
SHIPPING REGULATIONS & GUIDANCE
The Polar Code
The Polar Code
1.1 Why Why is is the the Code Code requiredrequired? ? 22
1.2 Hazards Hazards of of the the polar polar regions regions 33
1.3 Structure Structure of of the the Code Code 33
The Internaonal Code for Ships Operang in Polar Waters (Polar Code) entered into force on the 1st January 2017. Designed to ensure safe ship operaon and the protecon of the polar environment, the Code was approved by the IMO between 2014 and 2015 and was made mandatory through separate amendments to the Internaonal Convenon for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and the Internaonal Convenon for the Prevenon of Polluon from Ships (MARPOL).
The Code is structured around a goal-based standards (GBS) approach, which facilitates the t ransion from the tradional, prescripve approach of past regulaons, to one that allows for dynamic compliance in response to evolving technology. The Code sets out broad goals on a vari ety of topics including ship design, ship safety, operaons, crewing and the environment. The code applies to the geographic regions dened in the following gures:
Arcc: Mostly north of 60° but with a liming line from Greenland; south at 58° - north of Iceland, southern shore of Jan Mayen - Bjørnøya – Cap Kanin Nos – courtesy Internaonal Code for Ships Operang in Polar Waters (Polar Code)
1.1 Why is the Code required?
The Code has been developed in response to an increase in t he number of ships operang in the polar regions. This i s due to the following:
• An increasing number of tourists vising the Antarcc and Arcc regions
• global warming, which has led to melng ice caps and, as a result, the creaon of more accessible routes through the polar regions
• newly accessible resources (such as oil and gas) due to melng ice caps(one esmate has stated that 22% of the worlds recoverable hydrocarbons are in the Arcc circle).
These factors pose a serious risk to the polar marime environment because of the polluon and environmental damage that they cause. Furthermore, the remoteness of the region makes it dangerous for seafarers and passengers, especially in the event of an emergency.
Antarc: South of 60° – courtesy Internaonal Code for Ships Operang in Polar Waters (Polar Code)
1.2 Hazards of the polar regions
The Code sets out hazards specific to the polar regions, which include:
• Ice, as it may aect hull structure, stability characteriscs, machinery systems, navigaon, the outdoor working environments, maintenance and emergency preparedness tasks and malfuncon of safety equipment and systems
• experiencing topside icing, with potenal reducon of stability and equipment funconality
• low temperature, as it aects the working environment and human performance, maintenance and emergency preparedness tasks, material properes and equipme nt eciency, survival me and performance of safety equipment and systems
• extended periods of darkness or daylight as it may aect navigaon and human performance
• high latude, as it aects navigaon systems, communicaon systems and the quality of ice imagery informaon
• remoteness and possible lack of accurate and complete hydrographic data and informaon, reduced availability of navigaonal aids and seamarks with increased potenal for groundings compounded by remoteness, limited readily deployable SAR
facilies, delays in emergency response and limited communicaons capability, with the potenal to aect incident response • potenal lack of ship crew experience in polar operaons, with potenal for human error
• potenal lack of suitable emergency response equipment
• rapidly changing and severe weather condions, with the potenal for escalaon of incidents
• the environment with respect to its sensivity to harmful substances and other environmental impacts.
1.3 Structure of the Code
The Code is organised in two parts: Part 1 – Safety measures and Part 2 – Polluon Prevenon measures. These two parts are further subdivided between Part A – Mandatory a nd Part B – Addional guidance
The Safety measures secon applies to ships cered under SOLAS, specically all ships of a size of 500 GT+ and all passenger ships. Ships constructed on or aer 1st January 2017 must now comply with all the safety measures. Ships constructed before 1st January 2017 must comply with the safety measures by their rst intermediate or renewal survey, whichever occurs rst, aer 1st January 2018.
The environmental measures apply to all ships cered under MARPOL Annexes I, II, IV and V respecvely. New and exisng ships cered under MARPOL must now comply with t he environmental requirements since 1st January 2017. Fishing vessels that carry MARPOL cercates will also have to comply with the environmental part of the code, even though they do not need to comply with the safety measures (as they do not possess the cercaon under SOLAS).
1.4 Categories of ships
The Code assigns three categories for ships depending on the operaonal condions that the ship will face:
Category A: a ship designed to operate in polar waters with at least medium rst-year ice (between 0.7 – 1.2m), which may include old ice.
Category B: a ship, not included in Category A, designed to operate in polar waters in at least thin rst year ice (0.3 – 0.7m), which may include old ice.
Category C: a ship designed to operate in open water (dened as sea ice concentraons of less than 1/10) or in ice condions less severe than Category A and B.
The requirements to be met vary according to the ship’s assigned category. For example, a higher standard of ship structure is required for Category A ships than for Category C ships. This also applies to requirements for scantlings and strengthening, subdivision and stability and as residual stability in the event of ice accreon or ice damage.
1.5 Required documentaon
Ships operang in polar waters must now have on board a valid Polar Ship C ercate. This is obtained aer an inial or renewal survey and demonstrates compliance with the requirements of the Polar Code. As well as a successful survey, to issue a
cercate an Administraon will also require:
• A report containing an operaonal assessment of the ship and its equipment. This assessment will include a hazard analysis based on the consideraon of the hazards of the region (see 1.2) and the characteriscs of the operaonal area (e.g. operaon in high latude) and the polar service temperature (PST) established for the vessel
• a Polar Water Operaonal Manual (PWOM). This should address the hazards found in the operaonal assessment and provide sucient informaon as required to meet the measures of the code (see next secon)
• stability calculaons (including a llowances for ice and also in damaged condions)documentaon of machinery, systems and equipment installed or to be installed in order to operate at the established PST.
2 Measures of the Code
The Code has eleven safety measures and four environmental measures for a route to safe polar operaons: 2.1 Safety measures (Part I-A)
Summary of goal and functional requirements
Polar Water Operational Manual (PWOM) – Chapter 2
Polar Water Operaonal Manual (PWOM) – Chapter 2
To provide the owner, operator, master and crew with sucient informaon regarding the ship’s operaonal capabilies and limitaons in order to support their decision-making process.
» Shall include ship-specic capabilies and limitaons » shall include procedures for normal operaon
» shall include procedures for unusual operaons and incidents » shall include procedures for use of icebreaker assistance. Ship Structure – Chapter 3
To provide that the material and scantlings of the structure retain their structural integrity based on global and local response due to environmental loads and condions.
» Materials used in the ship shall be suitable for the operaonal PST
» the structure of the ship shall be designed to resist the loads under the foreseen ice condions. Subdivision and Stability –
To ensure adequate subdivision and stability in both intact anddamaged condions.
» Ships shall have sucient intact stability subject to ice accreon
» ships of Category A and B (from 01/01/17) shall have sucient residual stability to sustain ice-related
Watertight and Weathertight Integrity – Chapter 5
To provide measures to maintain waterght and weatherght integrity.
» All closing appliances and doors relevant to waterght and weatherght integrity of the shall be operable
(i.e. not frozen closed).
Machinery Installations – Chapter 6
To ensure that, machinery installaons are capable of delivering the required funconality necessary for safe operaon of ships.
» Machinery installaons shall provide funconality under the ancipated environmental condions » ships operang in low air temperatures shall take into account the eects of cold/dense inlet air, the loss
of baery performance and the requirement for materials to be suitable for the ships PST.
Fire Safety/Protection – Chapter 7
To ensure that re safety systems (FSS) and re ghng appliances (FFA) are eecve and operable, and that means of escape remain available so that persons on board can safely and swily escape to the lifeboat and lifera embarkaon deck under the expected environmental condions.
» All components of the FSS and FFA, including access shall be protected from ice accreon and snow
» equipment and controls arranged to be accessible, while avoiding freezing, snow accumulaon and ice
» the design of the FSS and FFA shall take into account persons will be wearing bulky cold weather gear » exnguishing media to be suitable for operaon
» ships operang in low air temperatures shall ensure that all components are eecve and the materials
Life-Saving Appliances and Arrangements – Chapter 8
To provide for safe escape, evacuaon and survival.
» Escape routes, embarkaon arrangements and muster points should be accessible and safe (taking into
account the adverse weather expected during an emergency) to allow safe evacuaon
» adequate thermal protecon shall be provided for all persons on board and to be suitable for the PST and
Summary of goal and functional requirements
Communication – Chapter 10
To provide for eecve communicaon for ships and survival cra during normal operaon and in emergency situaons.
» 2-way communicaon shall be provided for all points along the route, with a suitable means of
communicaons also available when escort and convoy operaons are expected
» means for 2 way on-scene and SAR co-ordinaon communicaons
» appropriate communicaon to enable telemedical assistance in polar areas shall be provided
» all rescue boats and lifeboats for evacuaon shall maintain capability for distress alerng, locaon and
» all other survival cra shall maintain capability for transming signals for locaon and for communicaon » survival cra communicaons shall be capable of operaon during the maximum expected me of rescue. Voyage Planning – Chapter 11
To ensure that the Company, master and crew are provided with sucient informaon to enable operaons to be conducted with due consideraon to safety of ship and persons on board and, as appropriate, environmental protecon.
» The voyage plan shall take into account all the potenal hazards of the intended route. Manning and Training - Chapter 12
To ensure that ships operang in polar waters are appropriately manned by adequately qualied, trained and experienced personnel.
» Masters, chief mates and ocers in charge of a navigaonal watch on board ships operang in polar
waters shall have completed training appropriate to their dues and responsibilies, taking into account the provisions of the STCW Convenon and Code (this essenally requires undertaking a Basic, and if required Advanced STCW approved training course). Note that the requirements for meeng the goal of appropriate manning and training were updated with amendments agreed at MSC 97 in 2016. These amendments to the ‘Internaonal Convenon on Standards of Training, Cercaon and Watchkeeping for Seafarers’ (STCW) and the STCW Code will enter into force on the 1st January 2018.
Prevention of pollution by oil – Chapter 1
In Polar waters, any discharge into the sea of oil or oily mixtures from any ship shall be prohibited.
» Arcc waters are now added to the oil prohibited special areas; Antarcc waters were already in MARPOL so
now all discharges into Polar waters are prohibited (i.e. no use of the 15ppm OWS)
» operaons in polar waters shall be taken into account in the Oil Record books, SOPEP and manuals » for all new ships built since 1st January 2017 with an aggregate oil fuel capacity of less than 600 m3 there
should be adequate separaon of the fuel and oil residue (sludge/oily bilge) tanks from the outer shell (not less than 0.76m)
» for all new category, A and B tankers built since 1st January 2017, the enre cargo length shall be protected
with double boom tanks or spaces and the wing spaces arranged in according with regulaon 19.
Control of pollution by noxious liquid substances in bulk – Chapter 2
In Polar waters, any discharge into the sea of noxious liquid substances (NLS), or mixtures containing such substances, shall be prohibited.
» Arcc waters are now added to the NLS prohibited special areas; Antarcc waters were already in MARPOL so
now all discharges into Polar waters are prohibited
» operaons in polar waters shall be taken into account in the Cargo Record Book, SMPEP and the P&A Manual. Prevention of pollution by
sewage from ships – Chapter 4
In Polar waters, discharge of sewage is prohibited except under certain condions in accordance with MARPOL Annex IV:
» Comminuted and disinfected sewage can only be discharged at more than 3 naucal miles away from ice areas » untreated sewage must be discharged at a distance of more than 12 naucal miles away from ice areas
» for all new cargo ships of Category A and B and all passenger ships built since 1st January 2017 all discharges of
untreated sewage are prohibited. New ships may only discharge sewage if comminuted and disinfected using their onboard approved sewage treatment plant.
Prevention of pollution by sewage from ships – Chapter 5
In Polar waters, discharge of garbage is only permied in accordance with regulaon 4 of MARPOL Annex V:
» discharge into the sea of food wastes is only permied when the ship is as far as praccable from areas of ice
concentraon exceeding 1/10 and must be not less than 12 naucal miles from the nearest ice or land
» food wastes shall be comminuted or ground and they shall not be discharged onto the ice
» operaons in polar waters shall be taken into account in the Garbage Record Book, Garbage Management Plan
and ship placards.
[Abridged informaon from MEPC 68/21/Add.1, Annex 10, Internaonal Code for Ships Operang in Polar Waters (Polar Code)]
2.2 Polluon Prevenon Measures (Part II-A)
These are slightly more prescripve than the goals and funconal requirements of the safety secon. The structure follows MARPOL and consists of both operaonal requirements and structural requirements:
3 Impact of the Code and future developments
Exisng ships operang in polar regions are likely to already be in compliance with the Code and they sll have unl their rst intermediate or renewal survey (whichever comes rst) aer 1st January 2018 to comply fully. However, the documentaon requirements, in parcular the need for a valid Polar Ship Cercate, PWOM and the other funconal requirements may well require changes to exisng ship operators in the region.
The Code will likely impact most heavily on new ships, or companies intending to operate in polar regions for the rst me. While the principles of navigaon in ice for a ship remain much the same, the operaonal, structural and equipment requirements on the ship have been signicantly altered since the entry into force of the Code.
However, as the Code has only recently entered into force, further amendments ,which will impact ship owners and managers and seafarers working in the polar regions, are likely. For example, MEPC 71 in July 2017 will consider the need among other environmental measures, for a HFO prohibion the polar regions.
To account for the evolving nature of the Code, classicaon sociees and P&I Clubs have begun to issue their own guidance documents on a the Code and many ag State administraons are reviewing their own regulaons and on the requirements for ship approval.
Although the Polar Code will likely be subject to further developments, as a mandatory par t of SOLAS and MARPOL all ships operang in the polar regions must now begin to comply wit h its requirements. The Code is an important rst step in protecng the polar environment from polluon and ensuring the safety of ships sailing in the region.
4 Further Reading
• Introducon - hp://Shippingregs.org/2399.re • Text of the Code - hp://Shippingregs.org/2400.re
• STCW amendments - hp://Shippingregs.org/2401.re and hp://Shippingregs.org/2402.re
Classicaon Sociees and P&I Clubs • ABS - hp://Shippingregs.org/2403.re • DNV - hp://Shippingregs.org/2404.re • LR - hp://Shippingregs.org/2405.re
• UK P&I Club - hp://Shippingregs.org/2406.re