Polar Code entered into force on January 1, 2017. The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) adopted a code of operating in polar waters of ships (Polar Code) of the 94th session of the Maritime Safety Committee. At the same session were adopted also the amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and amendments to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL). IMO notes that the adoption of Polas Code marks a historic milestone in its work to ensure the safety of seafarers and ships in polar waters, which became preferred marine way for merchant shipping.
To comply with the new Code ships intending to operate in defined Arctic or Antarctic waters are required to apply for a Polar Certificate, for which they will need to be assessed, as well as carry a Polar Water Operational Manual.
Polar Code defines basic requirements for the design, construction and subsequent equipment of ships, which will operate in polar waters. It also specifies requirements for seafarers and their preparation for work of this type of vessels.
Polar Code emphasizes the possible dangers to navigation in these waters, environmental hazards, as well as search and rescue and combating spills. Besides mandatory provisions Polar Code contains a number of recommendations. It includes mandatory measures covering safety part (part I-A) and pollution prevention (part II-A) and recommendatory provisions for both (parts I-B and II-B).