Tag Archives: Maritime Safety

What is contained on the Polar Ship Certificate?


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Certifying that a vessel is safe for Polar Waters

This new series of posts on the Polar Code continues with a look at the contents of the Polar Ship Certificate. A look that also gives me an excuse to enjoy using some of my favourite photographs. 

Which ships have to carry a valid Polar Ship Certificate?

Every ship to which the Code applies

Click here for information on which ships these are>

When is a Polar Ship Certificate issued?

After an initial or renewal survey.

For category C cargo ships however, if the result of and assessment is that no additional equipment or structural modification is required to comply with the Code, the Certificate may be issued based upon documented verification that the ship complies with all relevant requirements. An on board survey will be undertaken at the next scheduled survey.

Polar Ship Certificate validity, survey dates and endorsements shall be harmonized
with the relevant SOLAS certificates as  required by HSSC.

What should accompany the certificate?

A Record of Equipment for the Polar Ship Certificate.

What does the Polar Ship Certificate Certify?

  • That the ship has been surveyed in accordance with the applicable safety-relatedSea beginning to freeze
    provisions of the International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters.
  • That the survey showed that the structure, equipment, fittings, radio station arrangements, and materials of the ship and the condition thereof are in all respects satisfactory and that the ship complies with the relevant provisions of the Code

What is contained on the Polar Ship Certificate?

  • Particulars of ship
    • Name of ship
    • Distinctive number or letters
    • Port of registry
    • Gross tonnage
    • IMO number
  • Category A/B/C (see below)
  • Table of ice class against drafts fore and aft (maximum and minimum)
  • Ship type: tanker/passenger ship/other
  • Ship restricted to operate in ice free waters/open waters/other ice conditions
  • Ship intended to operate in low air temperature: Yes/No
  • Polar Service Temperature: ……..°C/not applicable
  • Maximum expected time of rescue


  • A statement that the ship was/was not subject to alternative design and arrangements.
  • A statement that a Document of approval of alternative design and arrangements for structure, machinery and electrical installations/fire protection/life-saving appliances and arrangements is/is not appended to this Certificate.
  • Operational limitations
    • Ice conditions
    • Temperature
    • High latitudesSmall iceberg

What is a polar code  Category A/B/C ship?

  • Category A ship means a ship designed for operation in polar waters in at least medium first-year ice, which may include old ice inclusions
  • Category B ship means a ship not included in category A, designed for operation in
    polar waters in at least thin first-year ice, which may include old ice inclusions
  • Category C ship means a ship designed to operate in open water or in ice conditions
    less severe than those included in categories A and B


HandyBooks Ship Certification Revision Aids

The Really Handy Range of Kindle publications contain a series of books on ship certification.

Click here for more information>

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What is the Polar Code?

South Georgia skyline

I have been asked quite a few questions on the Polar Code recently, and the Navigation Lights series of posts have been put to one side for a while whilst I put together some facts about the new code.

The International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters, (The Polar Code), has been introduced by the IMO to safeguard both life and the environment. It therefore draws on both SOLAS and MARPOL for its authority. This post is a quick introduction to the code.

What is the purpose of the Polar Code?

The International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters has been developed to Anchor in the snowsupplement the SOLAS and MARPOL  Conventions in order to increase the safety of ships’ operation and mitigate the impact on the people and environment in the remote, vulnerable and potentially harsh polar waters.

How was the Polar Code introduced?

The polar code was introduced by the IMO resolution  MEPC.264(68)

It is mandated by Chapter XIV – of SOLAS ‘Safety Measures for Ships Operating in Polar Waters’ and by additional chapters to the Annexes of MARPOL

Which ships have to comply with the Polar Code?

To all ships operating in polar waters


Ships constructed before 1 January 2017 shall meet the relevant requirements of the Polar Code by the first intermediate or renewal survey, whichever occurs first, after the 1st of  January 2018.

It does not apply Ships owned or operated by a Contracting Government and used, for the time being, only in Government non-commercial service. However, ships owned or operated by a Contracting Government and used, for the time being, only in Government non-commercial service are encouraged to act in a manner consistent, so far as reasonable and practicable, with the code.

What are Polar Waters?

  • Antarctic: Further south than 60 South
  • Arctic:  Within a boundary defined in the code, this has a lowest latitude of 58 North off Greenland

Where can Information on the Polar Code be found?

Frozen sea and mountainsWhat does the Polar Code Cover?

This is best summarized by the chapter headings of its two sections.

Safety Measures

  • Chapter 1 -General
  • Chapter 2 – Polar Water Operation Manual (PWOM)
  • Chapter 3-Ship Structure
  • Chapter 4- Subdivision and Stability
  • Chapter 5- Watertight and Weathertight Integrity
  • Chapter 6-Machinery Installations
  • Chapter 7-Fire safety/Protection
  • Chapter 8-Life Saving Appliances and Arrangements
  • Chapter 9- Safety of Navigation
  • Chapter 10-Communication
  • Chapter 11- Voyage Planning
  • Chapter 12- Manning and Training

Pollution Prevention Measures

  • Chapter 1-Prevention of Pollution by Oil
  • Chapter 2-Control of Pollution by Noxious Liquid Substances in Bulk
  • Chapter 3-Prevention of Pollution by Harmful Substances Carried by Sea in Packaged Form
  • Chapter 4- Prevention of Pollution by Sewage from Ships
  • Chapter 5-Prevention of Pollution by Garbage from Ships

PolarCodeClick to search for the Polar Code on Amazon>

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What is in SOLAS Chapter XI?

This blog will now take a pause in its exploration of ship’scertificates.  But before it moves on to the next topic here is a very quick post on an eclectic chapter in SOLAS.

Special Measures to Enhance Maritime Safety

SOLAS Chapter XI is a mixture of assorted Regulations, some covering safety, and some security. Hidden within this Chapter are some important Regulations that may be expected to be contained in other parts of SOLAS.

Contents of the Chapter

  • Regulation 1 – Authorization of Recognized Organizations
  • Regulation 2 – Enhanced Surveys
  • Regulation 3 – Ship Identification Number
  • Regulation 3-1 – Company and Registered Owner Identification Number
  •  Regulation 4 – Port State Control on Operational Requirements 
  •  Regulation 5 – Continuous Synopsis Record
  •  Regulation 6 – Additional Requirements for the Investigation of Marine Casualties and Incidents 
  •  Regulation 7 – Atmosphere Testing Instrument for Enclosed Spaces

    What useful information can be found in these regulations?

    Regulation 2  contains the additional hull survey requirements for bulk carriers and oil tankers.This Regulation mandates the requirement to comply with the ESP code.

    Regulation 3 contains the requirements to display  the vessels IMO number.

    Regulation 5 contains the requirements to hold a CSR.

    Regulation 7 contains the requirement to hold portable atmosphere testing equipment.

    To find SOLAS and other conventions on Amazon, click here>

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