IMO Committee finalises guide for equipment used in Polar waters


A sub-committee under the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has finished work on a standard that can guide manufacturers of equipment that will be used in extremely cold weather, offering reassurance to shipowners operating in Polar waters that the equipment will work under the harsh conditions.

At the recent Navigation, Communication, Search and Rescue (NCSR) sub-committee meeting (in January) at the IMO in London, the guidance on navigation and communication equipment intended for use on ships operating in polar waters was finalised and approved. The guidance is expected to be adopted at the next meeting of the Marine Safety Committee in June 2019. 

When the Polar code came into force on 1 January 2017, there were concerns about the performance of navigation and communication equipment in the cold conditions of the Polar areas. The Polar Code was however adopted without looking at the performance standards of the navigational and communication equipment, and it was therefore not evident that they would be able to function under the extreme environmental conditions or high latitudes in Polar areas.

A revision of the performance standards was necessary and the IMO formed a correspondence group to produce guidance with BIMCO as participant. This work has now been completed and the guidance put forward for adoption.

“Anyone involved in manufacturing this type of equipment will now be equipped with a standard guiding them on how to produce the equipment, so that it can operate without problems in the extreme weather conditions found in the Polar region,” says Ashok Srinivasan, Manager, Maritime Technology and Regulation at BIMCO.

“The new standard will give the shipowners and navigators reassurance that the equipment will work well in Polar waters” Srinivasan says.

Mette Kronholm Frænde
in Copenhagen, DK


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