The Safety of Navigation and the Polar Code

Iceberg through a bridge window

A handy summary of the safety of Navigation elements of the polar code.

Another part of the Polar Code looked at in this blog, and another chance to share some ice photos.

Navigation in the polar regions present some challenges, and the Polar code contains some important requirements to meet those challenges.

What part of the Polar Code covers the safety of Navigation?

Chapter 9

What are the requirements for Navigational equipment functionality?

The navigational equipment and systems shall be:

  • Designed
  • Constructed
  • Installed

-to retain their functionality under the expected environmental conditions in the area of operation.

Systems for providing reference headings and position fixing shall be suitable for the intended areas.

What additional navigational equipment is required under the Polar Code?

Detecting the ice

  • Ships shall have means of receiving and displaying current information on ice

    Sea ice forming at South Georgia

    conditions in the area of operation

  • Ships shall have the ability to visually detect ice when operating in darkness
  • Two remotely rotatable, narrow-beam search lights controllable from the bridge to provide lighting over an arc of 360 degrees, or other means to visually detect ice. This is not required by vessels  solely operating in areas with 24 hours daylight

Navigating

  • Either two independent echo-sounding devices or one echo-sounding device with two separate independent transducers. This applies to ships constructed on or after 1 January 2017 that are  ice strengthened in accordance with chapter 3 of the code
  • Two non-magnetic means to determine and display their heading.Both means shall be independent and shall be connected to the ship’s main and emergency source of power
  • Ships proceeding to latitudes over 80 degrees shall be fitted with at least one GNSS compass or equivalent, which shall be connected to the ship’s main and emergency source of power
  • For ships operating in areas, and during periods, where ice accretion is likely to occur, means to prevent the accumulation of ice on antennas required for navigation and communication
  • For ice strengthened ships  where equipment required by SOLAS chapter V or the Polar Code  have sensors that project below the hull, such sensors shall be protected against ice.

Rock formation at Hystviken

Working with icebreakers

  • Ships involved in operations with an icebreaker escort shall be equipped with a manually initiated flashing red light visible from astern to indicate when the ship is stopped.

This light shall have a range of visibility of at least two nautical miles, and the horizontal and vertical arcs of visibility shall conform to the stern light specifications in the COLREGS.

What are the Polar Code requirements regarding bridge design?

Ships shall comply with SOLAS regulation V/22.1.9.4, irrespective of the date of construction and the size and, depending on the bridge configuration, a clear view astern.

In category A and B ships constructed on or after 1 January 2017, the bridge wings shall be enclosed or designed to protect navigational equipment and operating personnel.


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