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 January 1, 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.
See the infographics below for more information as well as a new video where the IMO explains the code while on a voyage in the Antarctic: