The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adopted the International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code), and related amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) to make it mandatory, marking an historic milestone in the Organization’s work to protect ships and people aboard them, both seafarers and passengers, in the harsh environment of the waters surrounding the two poles.
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.
(For information about operations worldwide, contact the respective GAC office. Details may be found at www.gac.com/worldwide)
Source: International Maritime Organisation (www.imo.org) press briefing dated 21 November 2014
November 21, 2014, United States, Oakland, California
Members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union at the Port of Oakland stopped work yesterday (Thursday 20 November) after the death of a colleague while working on a ship in Benicia.
Following the death, the longshoreman instituted a 24-hour “safety stand-down” to gather facts and information about the fatal incident, and to mourn their colleague.
The port was rescheduled to reopen and business resume as normal at 0600 hours today (21 November).
For information about operations in the USA contact GAC USA at email@example.com
Compulsory marine services at oil & gas terminals
November 21, 2014, Yemen, all ports
Based on a Yemeni Ministry of Transport Decree, there will be an increment of USD 0.008 on the Maritime Pilotage Charge currently set at USD 0.1216 at the country’s oil & gas terminals from 1 January 2015.
Other charges for compulsory marine services for vessels calling at the terminals are:
* 30% of the due pilotage fees at weekends (including Thursdays), holidays and national days, day off, starting 2400 on Thursday to 2400 Saturday).
* Navigation light dues USD 0.02 per GRT of the vessel.
* Marine Environment Fee: USD 0.15 per GRT for oil vessels.
* Marine Environment Fee: USD 0.115 per GRT for gas vessels.
* Anchorage dues: lump sum of USD 450 per day or part of.
* Port clearance: USD 25 per call.
For information about operations in Yemen contact the GAC Yemen at firstname.lastname@example.org
Online certificate authentification system
November 21, 2014, Singapore, all ports
In response to industry feedback, MPA [the Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore] will be expanding the online certificate authentication services.
The authenticity and validity of statutory certificates issued directly by MPA to Singapore ships can now be verified via two online platforms – the Marinet (marinet.mpa.gov.sg/xr/servlet/XR_login) and the MPA website (www.mpa.gov.sg/sites/global_navigation/e-services/e_services.page) – by various parties such as ship owners, port authorities, banks and law firms.
The statutory certificates affected by the changes are:
(i) Certificate of Singapore Registry (COR)
(ii) Civil Liability Oil Pollution Convention (CLC) Certificate
(iii) Civil Liability Bunker Oil Pollution Convention (BCC) Certificate
(iv) Continuous Synopsis Record (CSR)
(v) Long Range Identification Tracking (LRIT) Conformance Test Report
(vi) Deletion Certificate
For faster verification via the online authentication system, a Quick Response (QR) code has been added to each of the statutory certificate. A unique certificate number will also be allocated for some of the certificates. Other new features would include (i) an electronic image of the signature of either the Registrar of Singapore Ships or Director of Marine and (ii) embossed MPA stamp on the original certificates.
Existing Certificates of Singapore Registry, CSRs and the LRIT Conformance Test Reports issued by MPA to Singapore ships prior to 1 December 2014 will continue to remain valid. CLC Certificates and BCC Certificates issued by MPA prior to 1 December 2014 will continue to be valid until its period of expiry stated on the certificate.
(For information about operations in Singapore contact GAC Singapore at email@example.com)
Source: Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore Shipping Circular No.18 of 2014 dated 21 November 2014
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