Applicability: Owners, operators, managers and masters of ships and offshore assets intending to operate in polar waters

The IMO International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code) applies to all ships when operating in polar waters. The Polar Code enters into force on 1 January 2017. As the Code includes additional requirements to both SOLAS and MARPOL, the application requirements for different parts of the Code differ.

The safety part of the Code (Part IA) applies to new ships carrying SOLAS certificates with a keel lay date on or after 1 January 2017. Part IA also applies to existing ships from their first intermediate or renewal survey (whichever comes first) on or after 1 January 2018. The environmental protection part of the Code (Part IIA) applies to all ships and offshore assets operating in polar waters from 1 January 2017.

This Class News release focuses on Part IIA compliance. For information on Part IA compliance, please see Lloyd's Register's guidance documents on polar code.

Part IIA contains requirements that can usually be met with shipboard operations – no structural modifications are necessary. Operators of ships and offshore assets in polar waters from 1 January 2017 should ensure that existing procedures and manuals are updated to reflect Polar Code requirements by this date. In addition, where operators choose to install new equipment (e.g. new garbage compactors to manage increased garbage retention on board) or designate new tanks for holding oil and oily mixtures, certification may need updating to reflect the modifications. 

The key requirements in Part IIA are:

  • Zero discharge of oil and oily mixtures when operating in polar waters.
  • Zero discharge of noxious liquid substances.
  • Additional limitations above MARPOL Annex IV requirements for discharge of sewage.
  • Additional limitations above MARPOL Annex V requirements for discharge of garbage.

​​​​​​Recommended actions for owners and operators of ships and offshore assets intending to operate in polar waters on or after 1 January 2017 are:

  • Review Part IIA of the Polar Code.
  • Understand the increased capacity requirements for retaining pollutants on board while operating in polar waters.
  • Update the existing on-board procedures associated with the discharge of oil, oily mixtures, sewage and garbage, so as to align with Polar Code requirements.
  • Update associated manuals (Shipboard Oil Pollution Emergency Plan (SOPEP), Shipboard Marine Pollution Emergency Plan (SMPEP), cargo record book, garbage management plan, garbage record book, placards, etc.) as appropriate.

If additional equipment is to be provided to meet the operational requirements, or if new tanks/holding areas are to be designated to manage the retention of pollutants on board, owners should contact LR to confirm any changes/modifications to existing certification.

Please note that there are no new certificates associated with compliance to Part IIA of the Code for existing ships. For ships operating in polar waters from 1 January 2017, it is necessary only to update manuals and procedures associated with the operational requirements in Part IIA. However, if new equipment is being installed or new tanks/areas are identified for storage of pollutants on board, these may need to be incorporated into existing certification. 

For further information and guidance, please see LR’s guidance material.

For further information

Speak to one of our experts at your local Lloyd’s Register Group office