Protecting ships, people and the polar environment
A new IMO film shows how the IMO Polar Code supports safe and environmentally-friendly shipping in the Arctic and Antarctic waters.
Onboard the Ocean Diamond expedition ship, eco-tourists gaze at the breath-taking beauty of the Antarctic landscape. This is the chance to encounter some unique wildlife, and marvel at the sheer majesty of the glaciers and the icebergs. For them, it is the trip of a lifetime.
To make the new film about the Polar Code, an IMO team visited the Ocean Diamond en voyage in the Antarctic, to find out at first-hand what the Code means for ships like this. As Ocean Diamond’s captain Oleg Klaptenko confirmed, operating in Polar waters is the ultimate test of his ship, and his skills as a professional seafarer.
“There are several sources of danger. Low temperature, bad visibility, very long polar night and polar day. Remoteness from our home and from human facility that can help you. It is also lack of good, accurate and complete hydrographic service,” says Captain Klaptenko.
With more and more ships navigating in polar waters, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) - the United Nations agency with responsibility for regulating the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of pollution from ships - has addressed international concern about the protection of the polar environment and the safety of seafarers and passengers. It has introduced new regulations that all ships operating in these harsh and challenging waters must comply with.
The Polar Code entered into force on 1 January 2017. It sets out mandatory standards that cover the full range of design, construction, equipment, operational, training and environmental protection matters for ships making polar voyages.
These rules go above and beyond existing IMO requirements such as those governing prevention of pollution from ships (MARPOL) and safety of life at sea (SOLAS). All the extensive safety and environmental regulations included in these and other IMO conventions still apply to shipping in polar waters.