At the last Arctic Council Maritime Forum held in London, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) declared that the Polar Code could apparently be applied to smaller vessels.
According to a report from the website Arctic Today on June 18, IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim stated during the Arctic Council’s maritime forum in early June in London that the implementation of the Polar Code merely represents the first step in our efforts to safeguard the pristine Arctic and Antarctic environments.
Lim emphasized that the IMO, a United Nations organization responsible for maritime safety, protection of shipping, and prevention of marine pollution, is now also bringing attention to ships that fall outside the scope of regulating policies due to their dimensions.
According to online sources, in 2017, more than twenty small ships and yachts traversed the Northwest Passage, and during the past summer, none of them appear to have become stuck in the icy waters. Kitack Lim highlighted, “We are aware of the increasing number of fishing boats and pleasure craft not complying with the Polar Code’s rules and operating in polar waters.” The IMO has been granted observer status in the Arctic Council. IMO Secretary-General Lim stated that this approval will further strengthen the efforts of both organizations to promote sustainable Arctic navigation.
The forum showcased a website as the sole point of reference for safe and environmentally friendly Arctic shipping, providing online information resources. The website, accessible at the provided address, offers links to the required requirements concerning the Polar Code and its annexes. For instance, links to hydrographic, meteorological, and potential ice information are provided, essential for navigation in polar regions. Arctic states, intergovernmental organizations, classification societies, the shipping industry, ship insurers, and civil society organizations regularly share information on this website.
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