Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Polar Code, Set Of Proposed Arctic Shipping Rules, Could Go Into Force In 2016 From The Huff Post Green

File:Three icebreakers -- Yamal, St Laurent, Polar Sea.jpg
The Russian YAMAL,   CCG  LOUIS ST. LAURENT,and the CGC POLAR SEA  Russian,  Canadian, and American Ice Breakers working together on August 1, 1994. Photo by LCDR Steve Wheeler, official DHS Photo (PD)

Editor's Note:   The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has developed a comprehensive shipping code for the High Arctic.  The IMO anticipates that climate warming will continue and that the Arctic will open to more shipping. At the moment the polar regions lack a comprehensive international operational code which means each voyage in the region requires individual negotiations with insurers. By passing a universal code describing the ice capability of hulls and similar matters insurance rates and requirements should standardize and more traffic result. Our own thought is that regardless of warming, most of the traffic increase is destination cargoes related to oil exploration in the region, not real through traffic looking for a shorter route between the continents. There are signs that global warming has about run its course, if that holds water over the next several years neither through traffic nor oil exploration will be come any easier. The difficulty, expense , and danger of such operations have been the deterrent to expanded use of the High Arctic. In fact based on global temperature averages over the last few years the overall climate has not been warming and more ice, not less has been observable the last two winters in the Polar regions. Regardless a Polar IMO code is a good thing, though this one is not as comprehensive as we would like to see. The Huff Post has the story, a lead in and link are below. 

By Balazs Koranyi

"TROMSOE, Norway, Jan 21 (Reuters) - New shipping rules are soon to be agreed for the Arctic, where summer sea ice has shrunk by about two-thirds over three decades, opening a new ocean with vast natural resources.

Maritime nations are close to a landmark deal on the Polar Code, aimed to improve safety, lead to lower insurance premiums and help the rise of traffic, industry insiders said.

About a tenth of the world's undiscovered oil and close to a third of its undiscovered gas is thought to lie under Arctic waters. The Northern Sea Route along Russia's edge can reduce the sailing distance between Asian ports and Northern Europe by 40 percent.

A draft of the code could be finalised by members of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) this week and go into force by 2016, ending years of delays, Sturla Henriksen, the director general of Norwegian Shipowners' Association said."

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