On the 1st of January 2017, the International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters – more commonly known as the Polar Code – entered into force. Drawn up by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the Polar Code provides an international standard that all ice-going vessels must meet if they are to travel through polar waters. Covering the safety and training of crew members, the durability of a ship’s design, the reliability of operational systems, and the environmental footprint of the vessel, the Polar Code is designed to ensure that Arctic bound vessels are properly equipped and manned to operate responsibly in this uniquely harsh and fragile environment.
Though most mariners will welcome the added protections that the Polar Code provides, it is not without some associated problems. One obstacle is the difficulty of undertaking the steps required to obtain a Polar Ship Certificate without proper guidance. Another is that, as an international piece of regulation, the Polar Code needs to be fitted in alongside existing and occasionally contradictory national legislations.
Nevertheless, with the increasing prevalence of cruise voyages into the Arctic Circle, the Polar Code has come at a time when it is very much in need. Though Arctic cruises provide tourists with a unique opportunity to observe the natural environment at first hand, the pollution associated with these voyages also threatens the very resource that provides their value.
As the largest conference on Arctic shipping on the North American continent, Arctic Shipping Forum North America (ASF NA) will be many maritime professionals’ first opportunity to talk through and understand the Polar Code since the date of its implementation. Taking place in Montreal on the 30th of October through to the 1st of November, ASF NA will provide valuable insights on the Code in practice from policy makers, ship operators and environmental scientists. Other topics will include new ship and propulsion designs, infrastructure development for Arctic communities, crew training and development and more.
New for this year is an optional one-day seminar focusing on cruise shipping in the Arctic. The seminar will evaluate the challenges involved with organizing passenger voyages to ice-covered waters, including experiences shared by crew members of the Crystal Serenity – the first cruise vessel to have successfully navigated the North West Passage.
Speakers for Arctic Shipping Forum North America 2017 include:
• Julie Gascon, Assistant Commissioner with the Canadian Coast Guard
• Jarkko Toivola, Director of Alfons Håkans Ltd
• Thomas Paterson, Senior Vice President of Fednav Limited
• Laureen Kinney, Assistant Deputy Minister of Safety and Security at Transport Canada
• Kierstin Del Valle, Manager of Maritime Policy at Cruise Lines International Association
• Bruce Harland, Vice President of Crowley Maritime
• Harold Kullman, Senior Project Engineer at WorleyParsons Canada
• Robert North, Maritime Consultant at The Marshall Islands Registry
Join more than fifty expert speakers and over one hundred and fifty industry professionals in Montreal this October and November for North America’s largest and most informative Arctic shipping conference. Find out more here.
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