The Polar Code

The Polar Code

In November 2014 the International Maritime Organization (IMO) accepted the draft version of the “International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters”, also known as the Polar Code.

In 2017 this code will be mandatory for ships operating in polar areas, which are in the Antarctic and Arctic regions. These regions are determined by the 60 degrees latitude north and south, with the exception of areas around Scandinavia and Iceland.

The Polar Code states a set of rules for safety to humans, animals and the environment in polar regions. Den Haan Rotterdam, DHR, follows the development of this Code closely.
The Code’s goal is that machinery and equipment  are  capable of delivering the required functionality necessary for safe operation of ships in polar regions. Not only do the materials need to be resistant to these harsh and cold conditions, but ice accretion and snow accumulation need to be taken in account as well.

In order to comply with these functional requirements, machinery and equipment shall be protected against the effect of ice accretion and/or snow accumulation. Exposed machinery and electrical installations and appliances shall function at the polar service temperature.

Combine these functional requirements with the already existing regulations and most likely there will come an amendment that states a set of rules specific for navigation lights to be used in polar regions. Not only suffer incandescent  bulbs from the severe temperature differences between a lamp switched on and off, but also ice accumulates on the lamp itself. If the ice builds up too much during daytime when the lamp is switched off, the lamp cannot generate enough heat at night to remove it. This allows the creation of a chunk of ice on the lamp and its lens, resulting in a loss of visibility at night time. LED lights, on the other hand, suffer less from temperature differences, but the extreme low temperatures will tremendously decrease the electronics lifetime.
To eliminate this problem, DHR is now developing a navigation light capable of operating in polar regions and staying ice free, day and night.

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