The IMO’s International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code) entered into force on the 1st January 2017, and sets additional requirements (in addition to those already prescribed by SOLAS and MARPOL) which address the specific hazards and risks that vessels face while operating in polar waters.
More than one year after its entry into force, Daniele Gasparin, Safety Manager at Rosemont Yacht Management, gives us a brief outline of the Code:
As an introduction, could you provide an brief overview about the contents of the Polar Code?
The Polar Code is divided into Part I and II. Those are subdivided into Part I-A and I-B, which contain mandatory provisions on safety and additional guidance on safety respectively. Part II-A and II-B, contain mandatory provisions on environment protection and additional guidance on environment protection respectively.
Part I is applied through the SOLAS Convention, while Part II is applied through the MARPOL Convention. The Code as a whole entered into force on the 1st of January 2017 for both new-builds and existing vessels. For existing vessels in particular, and solely for compliance with part I-A of the Code, a “period of grace” was granted until the first intermediate or renewal (whichever comes first) safety construction survey on or after the 1st of January 2018.
In practice, what does this involve for a yacht that is looking to obtain Polar Code compliance?
It involves multitude of different aspects. First of all, an assessment needs to be performed on board in order to establish the current status and condition of the vessel, and to perform a gap analysis to determine what is in place and what needs to be implemented in order to achieve compliance with the Code for the desired area, whether it is the Arctic or the Antarctic. This means taking into account the vessel’s structure, machinery, equipment, means of preventing ice accretion, logistics and so on. To wrap everything up, a Polar Water Operational Manual (PWOM) needs to be created and implemented. The PWOM needs to include information on vessel specific capabilities for operating in polar waters in relation to the assessment, procedures for incidents in polar waters, specific procedures in case of emergency and procedures for icebreaker assistance.
What are, in your opinion, the challenges that the industry is facing at the moment?
At the moment I believe the biggest challenge is making explorer type yachts and polar destinations more popular and attractive for yacht owners. The Arctic and Antarctic are places that are extremely exclusive and have a lot to offer: breathtaking scenery, wildlife (whales, narwhals, polar bears), sightseeing, skiing, helicopter tours and more. Very different from the usual yachting locations, but by no means less worth visiting. It’s a unique experience.
Why would you recommend using the services of a yacht management company ? And why especially Rosemont Yacht Management?
The role of a yacht management company is vital as a support to the owner and the Captain in ensuring the vessel has everything in place to obtain Compliance with the Polar Code. Here at Rosemont, we make sure that the service we deliver is compliant, dedicated, high quality and tailor-made for the client’s needs.
For more information about Polar Code or our yacht management services, please don’t hesitate to contact Daniele Gasparin at email@example.com