The 68th session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) held between 11 May and 15 May 2015 adopted provisions of the Polar Code related to environmental norms.
The meeting was held at the IMO Headquarters in London, the UK.
While the recent provisions are related to discharges of ships operating in the Polar Waters (Arctic and Antarctic seas), the safety regulations related to ship design, equipment, crew training and search-and-rescue issues were adopted the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) in December 2014.
Both of these regulations are part of the Polar Code aimed at protecting the environment of Polar Waters from pollution causing ships operating in the region.
Environmental Provisions of the Polar Code
• Prevention of pollution by oil: Discharge into the sea of oil or oily mixtures from any ship are prohibited and Oil fuel tanks must be separated from outer shell.
• Prevention of pollution by noxious liquid substances: Discharge into the sea of noxious liquid substances or mixtures containing such substances are prohibited.
• Prevention of pollution by sewage: Discharge of sewage is prohibited unless performed in line with MARPOL Annex IV and requirements in the Polar Code.
• Prevention of pollution by garbage: Discharge of garbage is restricted and only permitted in accordance with MARPOL Annex V and requirements in the Polar Code.
While, the code will apply to all new vessels constructed after 1 Jan 2017 and the vessels constructed prior to it must comply by 1 Jan 2018.
The MEPC meeting gave its approval to MARPOL Annex I amendments also which are related to oil tankers.
The adoption of the Polar Code and associated MARPOL amendments completed the process to make the Code mandatory under both the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and MARPOL treaties.
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When: Second week of May 2015