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The importance opening up of the Northern Sea Route (NSR) with the receding of the Polar ice cap should not be exaggerated says Singapore Shipping Association president Esben Poulsson.

Amsterdam-based shipping firm Spliethoff has booked six 18,000-dwt ice-class multipurpose vessels at China’s Zhejiang Ouhua Shipbuilding.

Arctic shipping and the North Sea Route (NSR) could receive a boost from the coming into force of the Polar Code and thawing of relations between the US and Russia according to brokers Banchero Costa.

Two new sets of mandatory IMO regulations - the Polar Code and IGF Code for gas-fuelled ships - entered into force as of 1 January.

DNV GL has approved the first vessel to comply with IMO Polar Code, AHTS Magne Viking, owned by Viking Supply Ships.

Liferaft company SurvitecZodiac has launched a new series of liferafts designed to operate in Arctic temperatures of as low as -50°c.

ICS has expressed “dismay” at the United States’ decision to deny the IMO Ballast Water Management (BWM) convention legitimacy in its own waters.

The environmental provisions to the Polar Code covering shipping in the Arctic and Antarctica were adopted at the IMO MEPC 68 meeting last week, however, has been criticised by environmental groups for not going far enough.

IMO has adopted the International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code) as well as associated amendments to International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS).

Russia has hit out at countries trying to introduce “unfeasible requirements” into the IMO’s Polar Code.

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