Polar Code Inspection Underway by Paris MOU

MS Roald Amundsen

The Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control (Paris MoU) is currently conducting an inspection campaign to verify compliance with the requirements of the Polar Code. The inspection campaign goes from Monday June 13 to Friday July 1, 2022 and from Monday August 1 to Friday August 19 2022.

According to the Pais MoU, the inspection campaign is additional to the regular Concentrated Inspection Campaigns and is held in a different time of the year due to the seasonal voyage plans of the ships sailing to the Polar area.

A ship will be subject to only one inspection related to this inspection campaign during this period. Port State Control Officers (PSCOs) will use a pre-defined questionnaire to assess whether the information and equipment provided onboard complies with the relevant conventions. Polar Code elements in SOLAS and MARPOL will also be taken into account.

The Paris MoU listed the reasons for the campaign as: polar waters have a unique ecosystem that is vulnerable to human influences such as ship operation; polar waters impose additional navigational demands beyond those normally encountered in non-polar waters; and polar waters impose additional demands on the ships, their systems and operations beyond the existing requirements for normal operations at sea.

The goal of the campaign is to determine the level of compliance with the requirements of the Polar Code and also to create awareness amongst ship crews and ship owners with regard to the importance of compliance with the provisions of the code.

In addition, the Paris MoU said it wants to highlight the increased risk to ships operating in polar waters and the need for protection of the vulnerable polar environment; to send a signal to the industry that safety- and pollution prevention related requirements are mandatory and enforcement with the applicable requirements is high on the agenda of the member authorities; and to underline the responsibility of the Port State Control regime with regard to harmonized enforcement of compliance with the requirements of the code, thus improving the level of compliance and ensuring a level playing field.

The results of the campaign will be analyzed and findings will be presented to the Paris MoU Committee.

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