The Human Dimension of the Polar Code
9 Australian Journal of Maritime and Ocean Affairs (2017), Doi/abs/10.1080/18366503.2017.1333191, doi: 10.1080/18366503.2017.1333191
Posted: 26 Dec 2019
Date Written: February 15, 2017
Climate change makes polar regions more accessible for shipping. In particular the Arctic promises new shipping routes which provide shortcuts, for example when compared to existing shipping routes between Europe and East Asia. Also, the boom in cruise shipping and the export of hydrocarbons and other natural resources from the Arctic are driving Arctic shipping operations. Less sea ice, however, does not mean that ship operations in the Arctic would be without risks. Indeed, warmer temperatures can mean larger icebergs and the presence of sea ice in areas where it had not been seen in the past. The Polar Code, which entered into force on January 1, 2017, addresses some of the dangers faced in polar waters. The Polar Code was created in the framework of MARPOL and SOLAS and has a largely technical focus, but it also relates to the STCW Convention. This article moves beyond the technical aspects of the Polar Code and looks at the human side of the the regulation of vessel activities in polar waters.
Keywords: law of the sea, polar code, seafarers, Arctic, Antarctica, climate change
JEL Classification: K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation