IMO Polar code – What it means?



The protection and safety of operation of ships operating under the harsh polar conditions and the environmental protection of the pure polar areas has been a priority issue for the IMO.

The polar shipping routes are going to get busier in the near future and to meet the challenges of a busier shipping lane, new rules had to be framed and enforced to protect the polar environments and minimise loss of life /casualties during shipping operations.

Harsh weather & remote uninhabitable areas make potential rescue & pollution clean-up operations extremely expensive & challenging.  Freezing temperatures prevalent on the arctic and Antarctic might have an adverse effect on the efficient operations of the machinery eg: main propulsion machinery, deck machinery and emergency equipment to sea suctions .The presence of ice can exert additional loads on the Ship’s hull, propulsion system and appendages.

The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), a powerful technical committee overseeing the environmental issues of shipping industry has ratified and enacted the stringent environmental laws of the Polar code.  Polar code is the International Code for vessels plying in Polar Waters. Since it contains both environment & safety related concerns​& issues, amendments are being enacted to make it mandatory under both the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).

The Polar Code would be tentatively enforced as a law from 1st January 2017.