American Bureau of Shipping (ABS)Hyperlink: Eagle.org
ABS is a leading international classification organization devoted to promoting the security of life and property and preserving the natural environment through the development and verification of standards for the design, construction and operational maintenance of marine and offshore assets.
ABS participated in SARex with the Norwegian Coast Guard Polar SAR exercise. An ABS employee joined in the exercise and the outcomes of the experiments enable ABS to better help ship operators understand the hazards of Polar Water Operations and the difficulties meeting even the 5 day minimum survival time. A Report for the exercise details many of the vantage points of the exercise. This exercise reinforced the industry’s understanding that in order to survive in Polar Waters the survivors must be kept dry. Life zapping moisture can originate from condensation on the inside walls of lifeboats, sea spray, or survivors being immersed in waters during an abandonment. Through ABS Advisory Services and the ABS facilitated Operational Assessment these types of hazards and their risk control measures are closely examined. Link to Research Saving Lives in Arctic Seas.
A significant aspect of the Polar Code that can be easily overlooked is the availability of Search And Rescue (SAR) as it relates to the Maximum Expected Time of Rescue (METR). The Polar Code defines a minimum of 5 days and this is often blindly taken. ABS encourages operators to:
- research the availability and capability of SAR in the area of operation, consideration for downtime for maintenance/repair, refueling, SAR personnel work/rest cycle, etc …
- consider an abandonment in the worst possible location along the intended route
- consider how possible bad weather could hinder SAR
- determine a realistic maximum expected time to rescue everyone onboard the vessel
ABS also has considerable expertise with applying the Polar Code. Using these expertise ABS has helped ship operators plan well ahead, and estimate requirements for preparing for polar operations. One such example is a ship’s EPIRB. Most ships have a single EPIRB, certified to Resolution A.810(10), amended by MSC.56(66) and resolution MSC.120(74). These A.810(10) certified EPIRBS have a battery life performance requirement of at least 48 hours. This does not meet the Polar Code minimum expected time of rescue of 5 days. Therefore a measure is required, often the addition of EPIRB(s) or additional batteries and an associated procedure in the PWOM.
Full Polar Code text
As adopted from IMO - Full Polar Code text
The goal of this chapter is to provide for safe escape, evacuation and survival.
8.2 Functional requirements
In order to achieve the goal set out in paragraph 8.1 above, the following functional requirements are embodied in the regulations of this chapter:
- 188.8.131.52 Exposed escape routes shall remain accessible and safe, taking into consideration the potential icing of structures and snow accumulation.
- 184.108.40.206 Survival craft and muster and embarkation arrangements shall provide safe abandonment of ship, taking into consideration the possible adverse environmental conditions during an emergency.
All life-saving appliances and associated equipment shall provide safe evacuation and be functional under the possible adverse environmental conditions during the maximum expected time of rescue.
- 220.127.116.11 Adequate thermal protection shall be provided for all persons on board, taking into account the intended voyage, the anticipated weather conditions (cold and wind), and the potential for immersion in polar water, where applicable.
- 18.104.22.168 Life-saving appliances and associated equipment shall take account of the potential of operation in long periods of darkness, taking into consideration the intended voyage.
- 22.214.171.124 Taking into account the presence of any hazards, as identified in the assessment in chapter 1, resources shall be provided to support survival following abandoning ship, whether to the water, to ice or to land, for the maximum expected time of rescue. These resources shall provide:
- .1 a habitable environment;
- .2 protection of persons from the effects of cold, wind and sun;
- .3 space to accommodate persons equipped with thermal protection adequate for the environment;
- .4 means to provide sustenance;
- .5 safe access and exit points; and
- .6 means to communicate with rescue assets.
In order to comply with the functional requirements of paragraphs 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52 above, the following apply:
- .1 for ships exposed to ice accretion, means shall be provided to remove or prevent ice and snow accretion from escape routes, muster stations, embarkation areas, survival craft, its launching appliances and access to survival craft;
- .2 in addition, for ships constructed on or after 1 January 2017, exposed escape routes shall be arranged so as not to hinder passage by persons wearing suitable polar clothing; and
- .3 in addition, for ships intended to operate in low air temperatures, adequacy of embarkation arrangements shall be assessed, having full regard to any effect of persons wearing additional polar clothing.
In order to comply with the functional requirement of paragraph 8.2.2 above, the following apply:
- .1 ships shall have means to ensure safe evacuation of persons, including safe deployment of survival equipment, when operating in ice-covered waters, or directly onto the ice, as applicable; and
- .2 where the regulations of this chapter are achieved by means of adding devices requiring a source of power, this source shall be able to operate independently of the ship's main source of power.
184.108.40.206 In order to comply with the functional requirement of paragraph 220.127.116.11 above, the following apply:
- .1 for passenger ships, a proper sized immersion suit or a thermal protective aid shall be provided for each person on board; and
- .2 where immersion suits are required, they shall be of the insulated type.
18.104.22.168 In order to comply with the functional requirement of paragraph 22.214.171.124 above, the following apply:
- .1 no lifeboat shall be of any type other than partially or totally enclosed type;
- .2 taking into account the assessment referred to in chapter 1, appropriate survival resources, which address both individual (personal survival equipment) and shared (group survival equipment) needs, shall be provided, as follows:
- .1 life-saving appliances and group survival equipment that provide effective protection against direct wind chill for all persons on board;
- .2 personal survival equipment in combination with life-saving appliances or group survival equipment that provide sufficient thermal insulation to maintain the core temperature of persons; and
- .3 personal survival equipment that provide sufficient protection to prevent frostbite of all extremities; and
- .3 in addition, whenever the assessment required under paragraph 1.5 identifies a potential of abandonment onto ice or land, the following apply:
- .1 group survival equipment shall be carried, unless an equivalent level of functionality for survival is provided by the ship's normal life-saving appliances;
- .2 when required, personal and group survival equipment sufficient for 110% of the persons on board shall be stowed in easily accessible locations, as close as practical to the muster or embarkation stations;
- .3 containers for group survival equipment shall be designed to be easily movable over the ice and be floatable;
- .4 whenever the assessment identifies the need to carry personal and group survival equipment, means shall be identified of ensuring that this equipment is accessible following abandonment;
- .5 if carried in addition to persons, in the survival craft, the survival craft and launching appliances shall have sufficient capacity to accommodate the additional equipment;
- .6 passengers shall be instructed in the use of the personal survival equipment and the action to take in an emergency; and
- .7 the crew shall be trained in the use of the personal survival equipment and group survival equipment.
POLAR CODE CHAPTERS:
EXPLANATION AND SUBMISSIONS
Part IA - Safety MeasuresChapter 1: General
Chapter 2: Polar Water Operation Manual
Chapter 3: Ship structure
Chapter 4: Subdivision and stability
Chapter 5: Watertight and weathertight integrity
Chapter 6: Machinery installations
Chapter 7: Fire safety/Protection
Chapter 8: Life saving appliances and arrangements
Chapter 9: Safety of navigation
Chapter 10: Communication
Chapter 11: Voyage planning
Chapter 12: Manning and training