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Requirements for Crew and Ice Navigators Operating on TPP

(by Karl Magnus Eger)


When considering possibilities for the Trans Polar Passage in the future, it will require consistent safety provisions for ice navigators, crew, as well as adequate equipment and training provisions. From an operational safety point of view, it is unlikely that any ship owner would cross the Arctic Ocean without an ice navigator and a crew trained for such conditions. In addition, ships crossing the Arctic Ocean will operate in a convoy, which means that there will be another ship to support in case of an emergence incident. Furthermore, the convoys must rely on self-support as the capability of any external rescue is limited. From a legal perspective, however, and the substantial shortcomings1  in light of the current IMO Guidelines, would be far from adequate for any possible and regular future marine traffic along the TPP. For example, low temperatures resulting in icing of vessels would be a constant problem. Moreover, cold weather course training would be an essential qualification to do a sufficient job on board any ship operating in the central Arctic Ocean. In addition, there are great challenges when it comes to emergency procedures, like rescue services for instance due to the long distances to the mainland and operative ports offering rescue. If an accident should take place in these waters, it will take a lot of time for the rescue crew to arrive at the place.


  •  1. See section: “The IMO Guidelines: The Complexity of the Recommendations”

Karl Magnus Eger, 2010, Requirements for Crew and Ice Navigators Operating on TPP, CHNL.©