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Norwegian Hull Club warns on Arctic shipping dangers

Norwegian Hull Club warns on Arctic shipping dangers
Rather than waiting for the inevitable to happen, insurers are warning that better precautions should be taken to avoid an Arctic disaster before it happens even as traffic into the isolated region keeps increasing.

Speaking at the IUMI 2014 Hong Kong Conference, ex-rescue chopper pilot and now head of department, loss prevention and emergency response, Norwegian Hull Club, Bergen, and board member of Norway based search and rescue research project SARiNOR Stein Are Hansen, gave an insight into some of the risks facing ships in the Arctic.While activity in the Arctic is growing rapidly, with some 71 transits last year, there is still a lack of resources to cope with search and rescue operations (SAR), and environmental cleanups.

"Humans make mistakes. Have we really thought about the risks in the Arctic? From the Clipper Adventurer to the Titanic, there have been huge accidents in the Arctic. You can prepare yourself to death but are we prepared for waking up to seeing oil on a polar bear on the front page of the New York Times?” Hansen asked.

Among some of the issues are that there are few search and rescue capabilities in the Arctic. "We will soon be responsible for rescuing people up to the North Pole. We need more training and sophisticated equipment to help deal with the potential disasters. For example, fuel stations for helicopters,” he said.

Meanwhile for its part, IUMI has been involved in working on the Polar Code with the IMO to help sure up safety around the North and South Pole.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 the inhospitable waters surrounding both the South and North poles.

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