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IMO adopts Polar Code environmental provisions

IMO adopts Polar Code environmental provisions
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.

The Polar Code is expected to come into force on 1 January 2017 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. 

Under the code it will be prohibited to discharge oil or oily mixtures, noxious liquid substances into the sea in the polar regions, while the disposal sewage and garbage are restricted and have to meet the guidelines of MARPOL Annex IV and the requirements of the code.

The Polar Code will apply to all new ships built after 1 January 2017, and existing vessels must meet requirements at first intermediate or renewal survey, whichever occurs first, after 1 January 2018. 

However, Sian Prior, Shipping Advisor to the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition, said it would do little to provide any new protection for Antarctic waters.

Prior called for a complete stop to discharging raw sewage rather than only with 12 nm from land or ice shelf, mandatory provisions on ballast water discharges and ensuring crews are adequately equipped and trained to deal with small spills.