The Declaration was made at a Ministerial Summit yesterday in Fairbanks, Alaska, attended by the foreign ministers of the eight Arctic states, including US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson.

The Forum has been established to help raise awareness and implementation of the International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code), a binding international framework that seeks to protect the pristine Arctic and Antarctic regions from maritime risks. It came into force in January.

The Lloyd’s market has played a key role in both finalising the Polar Code and creating the Arctic Council’s Forum.

Speaking in Fairbanks yesterday, Michael Kingston, representative of the International Union of Marine Insurance (IUMI) on the finalisation of the Polar Code and legal advisor to the Joint-Hull Committee on polar issues, said:
“This Declaration by the Arctic Council is historic. The Forum will help implement international regulation for the protection of seafarers, the environment and the indigenous peoples of the Polar Regions. It is an example of what we can achieve when we work together in industry and with governments and international regulators.” 

Lloyd’s Controller of Agencies, David Lawrence, added:
“Polar waters remain an extreme environment for vessel operations and therefore establishing a framework for sharing information on risks and experiences is a very positive development for the Lloyd’s market and the wider marine insurance community. We look forward to welcoming all participants to the inaugural Arctic Shipping Best Practice Information Form next month in London.” 

According to the Declaration, the eight Arctic States all welcomed “the entry into force of the Polar Code to ensure safe and environmentally sound shipping in the harsh Arctic marine environment.” The Council also noted “with appreciation” the establishment of the Forum.

Lloyd’s market practitioners will take part in the first meeting, along with many industry representative bodies and Arctic Council Delegations, at the Forum on June 5-6.

What is the Polar Code?

  • A key element of the Polar Code is the requirement for any ship operating in polar waters to have a Polar Waters Operational Manual (PWOM) which sets out how the crew will respond in a worst-case scenario. If the PWOM is appropriate, only then should the operator receive a Polar Ship Certificate from their Flag State.
  • The Code also requires ship owners to have in place contingency plans for all aspects of marine operations including safety of navigation, pollution incidents, ship structure requirements, and search and rescue plans.
  • In parallel, Lloyd’s and Lloyd’s Register have been actively involved in an industry-led approach to help create standards that will mitigate risk and support marine risk underwriters in polar waters.
For more information and to arrange interviews, contact Nathan Hambrook-Skinner, Senior Manager, Marketing and Communications, Lloyd’s, at nathan.hambrook-skinner@lloyds.com or on +44 (0) 20 7327 6125.

Notes to editors

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About Lloyd’s Register

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  • LR is your partner in complying with the Polar Code and you can access our wealth of arctic expertise to get exactly what you need, when you need it. Our interactive toolkit allows you to work through the Code on your own terms and you can download our free guidance, templates and examples to help you understand and meet your compliance needs. www.lr.org/polarcode