IMO (The International Maritime Organization) has at its most recent Maritime Safety Committee session adopted the Polar Code (The international code for ships operating in Polar waters) and amendments related to SOLAS (Safety of life at Sea).
Ships trading in the Polar waters must currently comply with SOLAS; the Polar Code will contribute explicitly by highlighting potential hazards of Polar operations, it provides goals, requirements to the functionality of ship design, construction, equipment, operation, training, search and rescue. As such it will have a high relevance to ships operating in the Polar regions.
As the polar code has a wide scope and cover matters from safety to environmental provisions it will most likely be mandatory under both SOLAS and MARPOL. It is expected that the amendment will enter into force from January 1st 2017.
Image courtesy of khunaspix at FreeDigitalPhotos.net