Press Release 4 June 2019
Today, the Arctic Council’s Arctic Shipping Best Practice Information Forum (the Forum) convened for the third time since its inception in 2017, and for the first time since Iceland assumed Chairmanship of the Arctic Council last month.
The purpose of the Forum is to support the effective implementation of the International Maritime Organization’s International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code). This is accomplished by collecting and posting on a dedicated Web Portal authoritative information relevant to all those involved in safe and environmentally sound Arctic shipping, including shipowners and operators, regulators, classification societies, marine insurers, and indigenous and local communities.
‘From Theory to Practice’ is the theme of this year’s Forum meeting with presentations oriented around practical experiences in implementing the Polar Code with a particular focus on successes, impediments, and remaining challenges.
The Web Portal, accessible at www.arcticshippingforum.is, provides links to carefully selected, reliable information essential to implementation of and compliance with the Polar Code. For example, links are available on hydrographic, meteorological, and ice data information needed to plan for safe and environmentally sound navigation in the Arctic.
Information for the Web Portal has been contributed by many stakeholders, including Arctic States, intergovernmental organizations, classification societies, the shipping industry, marine insurers, and non-governmental organizations. The Web Portal is regularly updated and expanded as new information becomes available.
The Arctic Shipping Best Practice Information Forum was established in 2017 by the eight Arctic States (Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden and the United States) to help raise awareness and to promote the effective implementation of the Polar Code.
The Secretary General of the IMO, Mr. Kitack Lim, opened the meeting with video remarks highlighting the importance of the Forum’s work and collaboration between the Forum and IMO. The importance of this collaboration was highlighted by the IMO’s recent accreditation as an Arctic Council Observer, which will further strengthen the two organization’s efforts in support of sustainable Arctic shipping.
Iceland’s Sverrir Konráðsson, the Forum Chair said:
“I am pleased to see the strong interest in the Forum and the evident commitment of its Participants to making it a success. I look forward to building on the substantial progress made to date and further strengthening the Web Portal so that it becomes an indispensable tool for all those involved in Arctic shipping.”
The meeting took place in London from 3-4 June and was hosted by the United States Embassy. For further information about the Forum, its third meeting, and its participants, please visit the Meeting Site.