ABS publishes Alaskan Advisory, guidance for Polar Code compliance
Mar 27, 2023
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The American Bureau of Shipping has published the Alaskan Advisory, guidance applicable for operations in polar waters around Alaska (north of 60° N), in areas defined by the IMO Polar Code.
This advisory note was published on March 8th, 2023.
The contents of this Advisory are oriented towards operations with SOLAS certified cargo ships operating with minimal polar hazards, including:
Sea Ice: Ice-free waters only
Air Temperature: No low air temperature operation(s)
Ice Accretion: Areas and times where ice accretion is not expected to occur
Latitude: Within the limitations of Sea Area A3 and below 80° N
The principal months of application are July, August, September and October. Operation(s) outside those months may require closer evaluation than this Advisory gives guidance.
This Advisory is focused on bulk carriers and oil tankers but may be used on other vessel types such as general cargo, research, special mission ships, etc.
This Advisory is not intended for yachts, fishing vessels and other non-SOLAS vessels.
About IMO Polar Code
The safety and environmental parts of the International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (IMO Polar Code) was formally adopted by the IMO in 2014 and 2015 and entered into force on January 1, 2017, for new ships and after the first SLC Intermediate survey after January 1, 2018, for existing vessels.
The mandatory sections of the Code are brought into effect via amendments to SOLAS (new Chapter XIV), MARPOL (amendment to specific Annexes) and the STCW (Standard for Training, Certification and Watchkeeping) convention.
The IMO Polar Code assumes that ships are already compliant with these three conventions.
Non-SOLAS ships are expected to comply with the Polar Code’s requirements as far as is possible and the IMO is creating guidance for these vessels, but non-SOLAS vessels are not considered in this publication.
The Polar Code introduces a list of potential hazards for polar water operations in introduction paragraph 3.
Understanding these hazards and their applicability (how they apply or do not apply) to a given vessel’s operation is an important aspect in complying with the Polar Code and its overall safety intent.
Using a Goal Based Standard (GBS) format, the process of obtaining Polar Ship Certification can range from being a significant challenge to one of relative straight forward ease.
This publication aims to provide enough information to make the certification an easier one for the vessel operator.
The hazards outlined in this publication are for relatively low risk operation(s) where most of the hazards do not apply, and therefore many of the more onerous regulations do not apply. Some hazard data is provided in Appendix I of this Advisory.