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Even as the UN is preparing international guidelines for polar shipping, insurer Lloyd’s of London says it plans to release its own regulations for sailing in the Arctic as a way to ensure that ships are adequately prepared to sail in a region of “extreme and fast changing risks”.
Lloyd’s said its regulations would serve to complement the International Maritime Organisation’s forthcoming Polar Code of safety and environmental standards, but it also pointed out that a lack of information about polar ice and differing national guidelines could “could undermine the effectiveness” of the IMO guidelines.
The announcement comes after Lloyd’s in January expressed concern that the growth of Arctic shipping traffic was “outstripping policy makers’ ability to create a legislative framework in the high north”.
“Accurate marine charts are almost impossible to obtain but despite the obvious hazards, the market frequently receives intelligence about vessels with inadequate ice-class operating around the fringes of the Arctic ice sheet,” the company said in a statement.
The number of ships sailing Arctic routes north of Canada and Russia has risen considerably in recent years, but the volume of traffic still remains a fraction of the number of ships sailing traditional routes.