A new IMO film focuses on the challenges that search and rescue operations entail in inhospitable polar regions. This video is part of a series on IMO in the polar environment with the aim to illustrate how IMO supports safe and environmentally-friendly shipping in the Arctic and Antarctic waters.
The Polar Code entered into force on 1 January 2017, setting out mandatory standards that cover the full range of design, construction, equipment, operational, training and environmental protection matters for ships making polar voyages.
IMO explains that many tourists are visiting the Antartic Peninsula now that these remote areas have become accessible to the large cruise ships due to climate change. However, this presents serious challenges to search and rescue. Maritime search and rescue is governed by an international treaty, the SAR Convention which was adopted by IMO in 1979. Under this treaty, individual countries are responsible for specified SAR operations together forming the Global search and rescue plan. Therefore, a network of co-ordination centres has been established covering world’s oceans. Chile is also responsible for the areas of Antarctica sharing responsibility with Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
The video includes information about the successful monitoring of the polar areas and also informs that from November to April, there is a ship from the Argentinian or Chilean Navy permanently in the area. The ship is equipped with additional pollution response material to be ready to assist in any emergency. Also, there is a solid infrastructure in place as an extra precaution to ensure effective response.