Polar Code and the Arctic Shipping Forum North America

October 27, 2014

Last week I attended the Arctic Shipping North America Conference in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada.  The conference focused on shipping in Canada’s arctic as well as the Polar Code which was finalised last week at MEPC67 in preparation for submission to all countries soon. 

At many times during the conference, the Polar Code was mentioned as bringing the world up to the same standards as Canada’s Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act. This is interesting, as the Canadian law states the same as the Polar Code: Any discharge into the sea of oil or oily mixtures from any ships is prohibited. However, it does not advise if this is an operational discharge or an accidental discharge – maybe it is both.

What was said that if a ship owner wanted zero discharges from the propeller shaft system, that use of seawater lubricated propeller shafts would solve the issue with ZERO discharges.  These types of systems are used by many operators in the Arctic now including US and Canadian Coast Guard ice breakers, Russian nuclear powered ice breakers as well as many coastal supply ships owned by Groupe Desgagnés and Northern Transportation Company Limited. 

Not sure why any ship owner that wants to do business in the Arctic would take the risk of using oil lubrication in this fragile ecosystem.

Craig Carter, Canada

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