The International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters: Finalization, Adoption and Law of the Sea Implications

Arctic Review on Law and Politics, Vol 7, No 1, 2016, pp. 60-82.

The most recent instrument specifically designed to make navigation in polar waters safer and more environmentally friendly is the International Maritime Organization’s long-awaited International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters - the Polar Code. This article first briefly examines the legislative history of the Code, with emphasis on the final and consolidating phase of development. Second, an account is provided of the main contents of the Code as regards its regulations on safety measures and pollution prevention. Finally, the analysis places the new framework in the broader context of international law, including an examination of the Polar Code’s relationship to specific provisions and legislative arrangements of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.