Class and Statutory News
Polar code- Entry into force 1 January 2017
Dec. 30 2016
The Polar Code will take effect on 1 January 2017 upon entry into force of:
The International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters has been developed to supplement existing IMO instruments in order to increase the safety of ships' operation and mitigate the impact on the people and environment in the remote, vulnerable and potentially harsh polar waters.
This Code consists of Introduction, parts I and II. The Introduction contains mandatory provisions applicable to both parts I and II.
Part I is subdivided into :
Part II is subdivided into:
The chapters in the Part I of Code each set out goals and functional requirements, to include those covering ship structure; stability and subdivision; watertight and weathertight integrity; machinery installations; operational safety; fire safety/protection; life-saving appliances and arrangements; safety of navigation; communications; voyage planning; manning and training;
The chapters in the Part II of the Code each set out Operation / structural requirements to include those covering prevention of oil pollution; prevention of pollution from noxious liquid substances from ships; prevention of pollution by sewage from ships; and prevention of pollution by discharge of garbage from ships.
Safety measures of Polar Code apply to ships operating in polar waters, certified in accordance with chapter I of SOLAS i.e. cargo ships of 500GT and above and all passenger ships.
Ships constructed on or after 1 January 2017 operating in polar waters shall comply, on delivery, with the relevant requirements of the Polar Code.
Ships constructed before 1 January 2017 operating in polar waters shall meet the relevant requirements of the Polar Code by the first intermediate or renewal survey, whichever occurs first, after 1 January 2018.
Unless otherwise instructed by the ship’s flag, the initial surveys should be interpreted as indicated in the IMO working paper MSC97/WP.12 (IMO circular MSC.1/Circ.1563 publication is pending).
Pollution prevention measures of Polar Code apply to ships operating in polar waters, certified or to which MARPOL Annexes I, II, IV and V apply, as appropriate.
All ships (new and existing) operating in polar waters shall comply on 1 January 2017 (EIF of amendments to MARPOL Annex I, Annex II, Annex IV and Annex V) with the relevant operational and structural requirements of the Polar Code.
What does the Polar Code mean for ship safety:
How the Polar Code protects the environment:
In order to establish procedures or operational limitations, an assessment of the ship and its equipment shall be carried out by the Owner (for existing ships).
This assessment shall be performed as a first step for compliance process, taking into consideration the following:
a) The anticipated range of operating and environmental conditions, such as:
1) operation in low air temperature;
2) operation in ice;
3) operation in high latitude; and
4) potential for abandonment onto ice or land;
b) Hazards, as listed in section 3 of the Introduction of the Polar Code, as applicable; and
c) Additional hazards, if identified
The operational assessment shall be developed by the Owner and submitted to BV for review and further examination that Polar Code hazards have been addressed through operational procedure and/ or equipment.
In relation with the outcome of the operational assessment and in order to provide master and crew with sufficient information regarding the ship's operational capabilities and limitations, to support their decision-making process, a Polar Water Operational Manual (PWOM) shall be developed by the Owner and carried on board. A model table of contents can be found in Appendix 2 of the Polar Code. This manual shall be submitted to BV for review.
Please find below a flowchart which provide an overview of the process for issuance of Polar Ship Certificate :
7.1 As indicated in paragraph 4 above, ships operating in polar waters on 1 January 2017 shall comply as appropriate with the provisions of the Part II-A.
For new ships it specifies structural provisions, such as the protective location of cargo, fuel, sludge and bilge tanks.
For new and existing ships operating in polar waters, the Polar Code imposes discharge restrictions for oil, noxious liquid substances, sewage, and garbage.
7.2 Documentation: Record books, Plans and Manuals
Compliance with the environment-related requirements of the Polar Code should be reflected in the existing certificates, manuals and record books under the relevant Annexes to MARPOL.
Particular attention shall be paid to :
8.1 In accordance with SOLAS regulations XIV/2.1 and 3.1, MARPOL Annex I regulation 47, MARPOL Annex II regulation 22, MARPOL Annex IV regulation 18 and MARPOL Annex V regulation 14, the Polar Code is a standalone instrument, providing additional requirements to SOLAS and MARPOL for ships intended to operate in polar waters. Requirements of the Polar Code should be surveyed in the context of the surveys under SOLAS and MARPOL, but do not form separate survey types.
8.2 For SOLAS related requirements of the Polar Code, the Polar Ship Certificate should be issued (Polar Code, para 1.3) and endorsed. The Polar Ship Certificate should be perceived as an additional certificate to SOLAS certificates for ships intended to operate in polar waters, and the validities of other certificates are not affected by it when a ship stay outside of polar areas.
8.3 The environment-related requirements of the Polar Code should be reflected in the existing certificates, manuals and record books under the relevant Annexes to MARPOL.
Amendments have been introduced to the Supplement to the International Oil Pollution Prevention Certificate (IOPP Certificate) – Forms A and B. Ships built before 1 January 2017, operating in polar waters, should be allowed to use the existing IOPP certificate until its expiry, as there are no additional structural requirements for existing ships.