In May 2015, after nearly five years of work and negotiation, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted the environmental provisions of the International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (hereinafter Polar Code), the first binding bipolar IMO instrument. The Polar Code will replace existing nonmandatory guidelines for ships operating in Arctic and Antarctic waters and establish safety of navigation and pollution prevention requirements for polar shipping. Prompted by the increasing volume of ship traffic in the Arctic and the need to provide protection to ships, their crew, and the fragile Arctic and Antarctic environments, the Polar Code addresses all aspects of polar shipping, including ship design, construction, equipment, crew training, search and rescue, and environmental protection matters.
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