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Polar Code Conference
13 October 2016

Polar Code Conference

On 5 October 2016 the Polar Code and Safety of Ice-going Ships conference jointly organized by Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RS) and PAO Sovcomflot (SCF) was held within the framework of the International Exhibition TRANSTEC 2016.

Vitaly Klyuev, Director of the Department of State Policy for Maritime and River Transport of the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation, welcomed the participants. The Conference was opened with speeches from Konstantin Palnikov, RS Director General, and Igor Tonkovidov, Executive Vice President and Technical Director of SCF.The event was also attended by Mikhail Gappoev, Technical Officer of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and Alexey Klyavin, the President of the Russian Chamber of Shipping.

The Polar Code will come into force on 1 January 2017. The conference was dedicated to the specifics of implementing the Polar Code in Russia and became a platform for a productive dialogue between the representatives of research centres, shipping companies and RS.

Mikhail Gappoev, IMO Technical Officer, presented a brief overview of the existing international regulatory framework for the ships operating in freezing seas and elaborated on the IMO activities related to the polar issues after the Polar Code adoption. particularly dwelled on the draft development of the Guidelines on methodology to determine limitations for operating in ice, and further noted the approval of the draft amendments to the STCW Convention and the Seafarers Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) Code, regarding requirements for training masters and officers, as well as solutions on the Polar Code application with regard to the operation of ships not covered by SOLAS regulations (including fishing vessels).

Igor Tonkovidov, Executive Vice President and Technical Director of SCF, delivered a report highlighting modern transport solutions as a key element of the large-scale industrial projects in the Arctic. He spoke about the unique experience of operating in the Arctic and Subarctic seas accumulated by SCF over the past decade. "The availability of such competencies, qualified shipboard personnel, and a system of special training for crews to work in the difficult conditions of the northern seas is the cornerstone of a reliable transport component of oil and gas projects in the Arctic region," emphasised Mr. Tonkovidov. He reminded that currently SCF is successfully servicing the three key Arctic oil and gas projects the Prirazlomnoye, Varandey and Novy Port fields, and that a third of the company's vessels has high ice class. Igor Tonkovidov noted that SCF has been developing the remote monitoring system of the fleet technical condition, which makes it possible to enhance control over the quality and safety of navigation. The implementation of the remote preventive diagnostic system allows us to receive all the necessary information about the condition of key machinery on an ongoing basis. This is particularly important for ensuring a continuous fleet operation cycle in the remote areas of the Arctic, where the vessels are hard to access for service engineers and other skilled staff," he stressed.

The Russian Maritime Register of Shipping presented the Guidelines on the Application of the International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code). Mikhail Kuteynikov, the Head of Hull Department, made a report on the key aspects of its application. He noted that the document was developed by the Register for the customers convenience. It as an instrument to determine the list of the Code requirements applicable to a specific ship. The Guidelines do not duplicate the Polar Code text and it do not contain any additional requirements. The document covers the procedure for carrying out the survey and issuance of a Polar Ship Certificate, and also contains requirements for operational and environmental safety of ships intended for operation in polar waters. Itwill be applied in survey of ships and ship equipment, review of plan approval documentation for ships under construction and ships technical documentation in service.

Itis tobe recalled that the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation was the first to authorize the Register for performing surveys of ships in accordance with the Polar Code. Today, RS has such authorizations from the maritime administrations of 11 flag states. It should be noted that ships with valid RS ice class and distinguishing marks ANTI-ICE and WINTERIZATION in the class notation now largely correspond with the Code requirements.

To provide the RS customers with the recommendations the Polar Water Operational Manual (PWOM) preparation in full accordance with the Polar Code, the Admiral Makarov State University of Maritime and Inland Shipping carried out a research upon the RS request. The GUMRF Associate Professor, Doctor of Engineering Science, Andrei Ershov presented the results in particular submitting proposals for the Manual standard content and noted the advantages of using mathematical modelling techniques to determine the safe manoeuvring conditions in ice and elaborating of specific recommendations. In terms of ensuring safe navigation in polar waters, practical relevance of the Manual was thoroughly considered in the report in the context of the liner "Explorer" accident in 2007.

Vladimir Tryaskin, the First Vice-Rector of the St. Petersburg State Marine Technical University (MTU), told about the experience of developing recommendations on the allowable safe and hazardous conditions of the ship's operation in ice. He highlighted that making calculations of allowable ice navigation regimes of the ship's operation in ice was essential to evaluate the ice ship strength, and their feasibility is related to the difference between the ice class ship and traditional hull form, specific calculated ice navigation regimes in manoeuvring, high vulnerability and wear resistance of ice strengthening structures when operating in adverse ice conditions.


The Polar Code is an IMO instrument adopted by resolutions MSC.385(94) and MEPC.264(68). The Code was developed on the basis of the risk assessment related to polar waters and is intended to ensure safe operation of ships and Polar environment protection.

From 1 January 2017 the Polar Code requirements for the maritime safety will apply to new ships constructed on/after this date. The ships constructed prior to this date shall comply with these requirements not later than the date of the first special or intermediate survey after 1 January 2018.

Operational requirements for environmental protection (complete prohibition on any discharge of oil and oily waters, Noxious Liquid Substances (NLS), operational restrictions to sewage and garbage discharge, etc.) will apply to the ships operating in polar waters since 1 January 2017. There is also an opportunity for specific ships to be exempted from the requirement concerning complete prohibition on any discharge of oil and oily waters by Flag State Administration prior to the date of the first special or intermediate survey after 1 January 2018.

The Polar Code requirements on safe navigation will not apply to the ships without statutory certificates issued in accordance with Chapter 1, SOLAS 74. The Polar Code will not apply to the ships of war and other governmental ships operated for non-commercial purposes. In the Arctic the Polar Code covers the area to the east of Cape Kanin Nos to the Bering Strait and in the Bering Sea to the north of 60N. In the Antarctic the Polar Code covers the area to the south of 60S.

Established in 1913, Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RS) is one of the leading classification societies. Recognised by the European Union. Member of IACS. The RS activity is aimed at enhancing high standards of maritime safety and minimising the negative impact of human activities on the environment through scientifically based risk assessment and risk management procedures.

RS HEAD OFFICE: 8, Dvortsovaya Nab., 191186, St.Petersburg, RUSSIA. Tel: +7 (812) 3128878, Fax: +7 (812) 3141087, E-mail: