Consultation on putting international rules designed to protect polar regions and those that sail on them into UK law, is due to begin today.
The rules cover safety-related requirements for some of the toughest environments on earth including ship design, construction and equipment as well as the protection of the unique eco-systems of the polar regions.
Known as the Polar Code, it is the international standard for shipping in those regions, has been developed by the International Maritime Organisation with substantial input from the UK.
Operators should already be working to it but the UK wants to have it in law here as part of its ongoing commitment to cleaner seas and protection of the environment.
James Hartley-Binns, Ship Standards Policy Lead with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: “The Polar Code is designed to protect some of the most fragile ecological places on earth as well as protecting seafarers and passengers in harsh environments.
“We want to protect both people and the environment and bringing these amendments into UK law is part of that commitment.
“The Code sets the standard for shipping in polar regions, allowing for innovation and technological advance without compromising safety. The UK has taken an active part in the development of the Code at the International Maritime Organization and remains committed to implementing amendments to its conventions.”
There will now be an eight-week consultation on the proposals.