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HANSA 09-2017

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Schiffstechnik | Ship Technology Cruising on the rocks As the Polar ice caps rapidly recede, human activities are advancing into unchartered territories within the Polar Regions. There is a lot to be considered when accessing these sensitive regions as layed out in the IMO’s Polar Code Recently the »Crystal Serenity«, operated by Crystal Cruises, successfully traversed the Northwest Passage in 28 days. Whilst the international community were amazed by this technological feat, they were equally shocked that a diesel-burning steel hotel ventured into such a vulnerable ecosystem. There is no room for error. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has developed a mandatory code for ships operating in the polar waters (both Arctic and Antarctic waters) known as, the Polar Code. It consists of two parts, each of which includes both mandatory and recommendatory sections. Part I addresses safety, construction, onboard equipment, ship design, crew training and operations whilst Part II addresses environmental pollution. The Code is not self-standing, it came into effect on 1 January 2017, by way of an amendment to three existing Conventions namely, STCW, SOLAS 1974 and MARPOL. The detailed training requirements for the crew members are set out in the amendments to the STCW, the safety requirements are set out in SO- LAS and the environmental provisions are described in Annex I, II, IV and V to MARPOL. Cruising and the Polar Code The Code is applicable to passenger vessels and all shipping and maritime operations within the polar waters, excluding vessels under 500 t, fixed structures and fishing vessels. The design, materials and equipment on board the vessel will need to meet the requirements set out in the Code. In order to ensure that the vessels are compliant with the Code, ship owners and operators must take head of the following different deadlines: • Safety compliance: Passenger vessels constructed on or after 1 January 2017 must comply with the safety part of the code at delivery, as set out in the amended SOLAS provisions. If the passenger vessel was constructed before 1 January 2017, then it must comply with the safety part of the code by the first intermediate or renewal survey, whichever occurs first, after 1 January 2018. • Environmental compliance: As from 1 January 2017, existing and new passenger vessels, certified under MAR- POL, must comply with the environmental standards set out in the Polar Code. Safety and the environment Polar ship certificate and PWOM: All ships operating in polar waters will require a Polar Ship certificate and a Polar Waters Operational Manual (PWOM). The Polar Ship certificate is issued by the Flag State or classification society; it is the ultimate confirmation that the vessel complies with the applicable requirements of the Code. In order to obtain the certificate, the manager of the vessel will have to submit various documentation to its classification society, the documentation might differ depending on whether the vessel was built prior to, or, after 1 January 2017. A key element of the Polar Code is the requirement that ships operating in polar waters must have a PWOM. The PWOM sets out a contingency plan and provides guidance on how to respond to any incidents that may arise. In other words, they address challenges that are found in the hazard analysis and document the practical operation of the vessel in such a hazard. The certificate and PWOM must be tailor made for a specific vessel voyaging into a specific polar environment; they are not of general application. Further, in order to obtain a certificate, it is a requirement that all vessels transiting through polar waters are classified within one of the three categories mentioned below. These categories are linked to the ship’s ice class notation. • Category A: These vessels are fit for at least medium first year ice (70–120 cm). It is doubtful whether passenger vessels 46 HANSA International Maritime Journal – 154. Jahrgang – 2017 – Nr. 9

Schiffstechnik | Ship Technology would be built for this capacity, due to the negative performances in open water. • Category B: Vessels designed for, at least, thin first year ice (30–70 cm). It is likely that most passenger vessels, planning to traverse the polar waters, would fall within category B. • Category C: Vessels envisaged to operate in open water or very light ice and don’t need to be ice-strengthened. In addition to these categories, more detailed information regarding the ship’s ice limitations must be included in the Polar Ship certificate and the PWOM. Machinery, appliances and crew training: Importantly, all machinery, including ice removal equipment, must be able to operate effectively in extremely cold conditions, therefore, old machinery will have to be modified to meet the stringent safety requirements. Vessels must also have the ability to visually detect ice whilst operating in darkness and are obligated to have a means of receiving and displaying current information on ice conditions. As such, communication with other vessels in the Polar waters is very important to ensure charts are constantly updated, an advanced communication system is therefore necessary. Finally, crew training is also an essential safety requirement. Due the importance of the crew on board, the ship owners will need to dig further in their pockets to ensure that their crew size is suffcient to allow for a three-shift watch. The environmental requirements are operational and the responsibility, therefore, falls on the master. Once again, the requirements differ slightly depending on whether the ships were built before 1 January 2017, or after. The Code strictly prohibits all types of discharge in the Antarctic waters, but, only prohibits certain types of discharge in the Arctic, such as oily substances, untreated sewage, plastics, food wastes, animal carcasses, chemicals and cargo residues. Due to these discharge restrictions, the waste will have to be retained until a port reception facility is reached, these are currently few and far between. In a single voyage through the Arctic, vessels will move through multiple marine and coastal ecosystems, there is therefore the risk that invasive species will be transferred from one ecosystem to another. Passenger vessels, in particular, bring about a high level of risk as they voyage between Arctic states, with passengers embarking and disembarking at different stages. Cruise Line Operators should therefore ensure that their vessels have a ballast water management system that complies with the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ship’s Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM Convention). In addition, there must be a modern waste water treatment, adequate garbage stores and the possibility to operate without heavy fuel oil; these are all prerequisites for polar operations. Further, Category A and B ships must have oil fuel tanks that are separate from the outer hull. The insurance perspective Due to lack of information, and a lot of uncertainty, it is very diffcult to analyse the various risks associated with polar navigation. As such, insurance companies are reluctant to undertake the risk. In attempt to assist underwriters in assessing the marine risk of polar voyages, the Code has introduced a set of standards, the Polar Operation Limit Assessment Risk Indexing System (PO- LARIS). The system is designed to determine the operational limitations of a vessel on polar voyages. In other words, it gives guidance on possible situations that may arise when operating a ship in the Polar waters. However, the system will not replace the master’s ability to make a judgment call on the prevailing conditions. Challenges in the implementation Firstly, those transiting through the Arctic cannot exclusively rely on the Polar Code, they must be cognisant of national regulations and legislation. For various political reasons, harmonisation of the laws relating to the polar waters has not been achieved. There are five states bordering the arctic, namely: Greenland, Denmark, USA, Canada and Russia. The Polar code tries to bring these regional countries together to create uniform regulations for the Arctic but, currently there are disputes and conflicts between these States. As a result, rules and regulations will differ within the EEZ’s of each country creating uncertainty and inconsistency. Ship operators must be aware of this fact. For example: the Polar Code does not address the release of emissions from the vessels, therefore, each arctic state has the freedom to impose their own laws resulting in different emission control requirements within the different EEZ’s. Notwithstanding the far reaching requirements set out in the Code, there are still numerous challenges which arctic shipping will face: • Many charts are incorrect and unreliable because they are not continuously updated. • Vessel source pollution and reception facilities l have not been fully addressed; • Salvage facilities are almost non-existent; • Search and rescue will be diffcult to orchestrate in those conditions, due to unreliable communication channels and the lack of rescue infrastructure in such remote areas; • Visibility is restricted up to 90% of the time, there are inadequate weather reports and violent storms are known to occur. Author: Philippa Reid, Fleet Hamburg LLP, HANSA International Maritime Journal – 154. Jahrgang – 2017 – Nr. 9 47

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