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The Polar Code and SOLAS amendments were adopted during the 94th session of IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), which was meeting at the Organization's London headquarters for its 94th session, from 17 to 21 November 2014.
The Polar Code covers the full range of design, construction, equipment, operational, training, search and rescue and environmental protection matters relevant to ships operating in waters surrounding the two poles.
Ships trading in the polar regions already have to comply with all relevant international standards adopted by IMO, but the newly adopted SOLAS chapter XIV “Safety measures for ships operating in polar waters”, adds additional requirements, by making mandatory the Polar Code (Preamble, Introduction and Part I-A (Safety measures)).
The Polar Code highlights the potential hazards of operating in polar regions, including ice, remoteness and rapidly changing and severe weather conditions, and provides goals and functional requirements in relation to ship design, construction, equipment, operations, training, and search and rescue, relevant to ships operating in Arctic and Antarctic waters.
As well as mandatory provisions, recommendations are also include in a Part 1-B.
The expected date of entry into force of the SOLAS amendments is 1 January 2017, under the tacit acceptance procedure. It will apply to new ships constructed after that date. Ships constructed before 1 January 2017 will be required to meet the relevant requirements of the Polar Code by the first intermediate or renewal survey, whichever occurs first, after 1 January 2018.
Because it contains both safety and environment related provisions, the Polar Code will be mandatory under both SOLAS and the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL). Last month (October 2014), IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) approved the necessary draft amendments to make the environmental provisions in the the Polar Code mandatory under MARPOL. The MEPC is expected to adopt the Code and associated MARPOL amendments at its next session in May 2015, with an entry-into-force date to be aligned with the SOLAS amendments.
(From left to right): Dan Slavik, Jon L. Fuglestad, Stanislav Formin, Joclyn Paulic, Alf Håkon Hoel,
Tomomi Nomaki, Erik Olsen, Phil Mundy, Catherine Coon, Karoline Andaur, Takashi Kikuchi,
Hein Rune Skjoldal, Maryann Fidel and William Koeoppen (Photo: Bjarni Eiríksson / PAME)
The Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment Working Group (PAME), held its 4th Ecosystem Approach workshop in the beautiful city of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 16-18 of June 2014. The subtitle of the workshop was; Integrated Ecosystem Assessment (IEA) – Understanding National Approaches and Reviewing Progress on IEA in Arctic LMEs straddling national boundaries: The Beaufort and Barents Seas.
Members of the PAME led Ecosystem Approach Expert Group included representatives from Canada, Norway, the United States, the Aleut International Association, AMAP and CAFF working groups, in addition to experts from a number of institutions, including the WWF and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology. The workshop also received input via video link from experts who could enjoy the pleasantly of their home office and still make a valuable contribution to the workshop.
The three day workshop included sessions on;
- An overview of the history and approaches of Ecosystem based management (EA/EBM) and integrated ecosystem approach (IEA), and current projects on EA/EBM and IEA within the Arctic Council.
- The national overviews from the Beaufort, Approaches to IEA in the Beaufort Sea.
- National overviews from the Barents, Approaches to IEA in the Barents and
- Discussions and Lessons learned.
The workshop report will soon be available on the PAME website (www.pame.is).
PAME has published a Concept Paper on Ecosystem Approach to Management of the Arctic marine ecosystems. This Paper defines the EA approach and identifies the framework for implementation of the EA in the Arctic and emphasizes the following main elements that can be seen as steps in an iterative implementation cycle: • Identify the ecosystem
• Describe the ecosystem
• Set ecological objectives
• Assess the ecosystem
• Value the ecosystem
• Manage human activities
Large Marine Ecosystems (LMEs) represent the appropriate and primary units for applying the ecosystem approach to management of the marine environment recognizing that it accommodates management at other spatial scales. The LMEs offer a framework for doing this in a structured manner from both scientific and management perspectives. The overall state and integrity of the ecosystem is a reflection of the status of species and habitats and their interactions at all appropriate scales within the LME.
The Arctic Marine Tourism Project (AMTP) Workshop Report has been published on the PAME webpage.
In broad terms the AMTP is attempting to identify issues or gaps where the Arctic Council can add value by articulating best practices in relation to vessel-based Arctic tourism. In undertaking this project PAME seeks to produce a best practices document that:
1) avoids duplication by being aware of existing guidelines and best practices;
2) identifies existing best practices while also determining any practical problem areas or actual issues requiring some resolution;
3) takes into account regional variations, categories of tourist/vessel operations, various stakeholder perspectives, and practical usability of a best practices document; and
4) considers the intended audience(s) for development of best practices.
The workshop advanced understanding on all these matters and generated a solid basis for further work on the AMTP.
The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) has launched a call for experts to our Arctic Council project “Adaptations Actions for a Changing Arctic – AACA”.
Call for nominations of experts to take part in an AMAP project. Request for climate, environmental, socio-economic, and adaptation policy experts as Lead Authors and Contributing Authors for a scientific study of the Bering/Beaufort/Chukchi region.
The letter has been uploaded to our website at this link or can be downloaded here.
Recognizing the unique and wide-ranging management challenges associated with the growth of tourism across the circumpolar Arctic, the Arctic Council, at the 2013 Kiruna Ministerial Meeting, indicated its support for the development of a cross-cutting initiative centered on strengthening sustainability within the industry.
The Arctic Marine Tourism Project (AMTP) is part of a renewed effort by the Arctic Council to analyze and promote sustainable tourism across the circumpolar Arctic. The overall objective of the AMTP is to provide guidance to a range of Arctic stakeholders on means to strengthen and promote sustainable Arctic marine tourism, defined (in the 2006 Arctic Council report “Sustainable Model for Arctic Regional Tourism”) as tourism that minimizes negative impacts and maximizes socio-cultural, environmental and economic benefits for residents of the Arctic.
Organized by the Arctic Council’s Working Group on the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) and co-led by Canada and the United States, the AMTP will identify issues or gaps where the Arctic Council can add value by articulating best practices in relation to vessel-based Arctic tourism and is primarily focused on aspects of marine tourism that fall outside the competency of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). In addition to holding two workshops dedicated to this issue, it is expected that the proposed creation of an ‘Arctic Marine Tourism Best Practices’ document will be put to Arctic Council Ministers for consideration in spring 2015.
The first AMTP workshop was held in Ottawa on March 18-19, 2014. The workshop involved representatives from industry, government, academia, the not-for-profit sector, and local communities discussing emerging trends, potential impacts and opportunities, and oversight of marine tourism across the Arctic Region. Participants engaged in robust discussions and began to coalesce around potential concepts for proposed “best practices”, such as better engagement and communication between industry and communities. PAME will continue its inter-sessional work to advance the project leading to a second dedicated AMTP workshop planned for the fall of 2014.
Click here for more on the developing AMTP.
Click here for a backgrounder on the Arctic Council.
Source: Arctic Council
The work was reviewed and comments received at the biannual meetings of the PAME Working Group. In addition, input was received from two expert workshops in Keflavik, Iceland in June 2012, held jointly with the Recommended Practices for Prevention of Pollution (RP3) workshop by the Emergency Preparedness, Prevention and Response (EPPR) Working Group, and in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada in September 2012. Written comments were also received from many individuals and organizations including a wide range of representatives from Arctic governments, non-governmental organizations, industry, indigenous people, and the scientific community.
This Guidance document has been circulated widely to Arctic States, Permanent Participants and Observers, as well as academia, non-profit environmental and industry associations, and other stakeholders and has also had the benefit of editing by a professional writer/editor.
The second SAO meeting of the Canadian Chairmanship was held in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada March 25-27.
Location: Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada Meeting begins:25 March Meeting ends: 27 March
The Executive SAO Meeting will be held during the day 25 March. The SAO/PP Plenary Meeting will then begin with a dinner on the evening of the 25 March.
More information about the meeting can be found here
Source: The Arctic Council
The Arctic Offshore Oil and Gas Guidelines: Safety Management Systems and Safety Culture, was organized as a project under the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) Working Group of the Arctic Council. A new report was released in March 2014 and is available at
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The Indian ambassador, Mr. Ashok Das, visited the University of Akureyri the March 17th to meet institutions and specialists who are involved in Arctic related activities. Mr. Das introduced India's interests in sending scientists to Iceland to be trained in glaciology. The glaciers in India are located high up in the Himalaya and are not suitable training grounds due to difficault and dangerous environment. While glaciers in Iceland are more accessable. Mr. Das also expressed India's interest in the Arctic region and said that India can be a suitable partner in developing the region in issues related to technology and IT services.
Source: University of Akureyri