Inspecting passenger vessels in Canadian Arctic Waters and Voyage planning - SSB No.: 18/2022

RDIMS No .: 18811880
Date (Y-M-D) : 2022-07-29

We issue Ship Safety Bulletins for the marine community. Visit our Website at to view existing bulletins and to sign up to receive e-mail notices of new ones.


This bulletin applies to passenger vessels navigating in the Canadian Arctic Waters.


This bulletin covers:

  • Transport Canada’s inspection campaign, and
  • existing requirements for voyage planning and reporting in the Canadian Arctic.

What you need to know

In summer 2022, Transport Canada will be inspecting passenger vessels that enter Canada’s Arctic waters with a focus on voyage planning. Our inspections will also verify that passenger vessels comply with the requirements of the Polar Code.

Operating within Arctic waters poses unique risks that you need to manage to keep you, your vessel, and passengers safe. When planning your voyage, remember that most of Canada’s Arctic waters haven’t been surveyed to modern standards.

During inspections, Transport Canada’s inspectors will review your voyage plan and navigation records to make sure they comply with Canadian and international regulations, including managing risks.

Planning a voyage in Canadian Arctic waters

You should consider the following when planning a voyage to Canadian Arctic waters:

  • the International Maritime Organization’s Voyage Planning Guidelines
  • the International Maritime Organization's International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code), especially Chapter 11
  • updated Annual Notice to Mariners, Canadian regulations require you to carry a copy of Annual Notice to Mariners on board your vessel
  • TP13670: Guidelines for Passenger Vessels Operating in the Canadian Arctic

For the 2022 cruise ship season, vessels are subject to new, voluntary environmental measures that are outlined in Ship Safety Bulletin No.10/2022.

Cruise ships on international voyages are also required to comply with the Interim Order Respecting Cruise Ship Restrictions and Vaccination Requirements Due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) while operating in Canadian waters.

Reporting requirements

In addition to other mandatory reports, passenger vessels subject to the Polar Code must submit a detailed voyage plan to Transport Canada at least 96 hours before entering Canadian Arctic waters.

Email your voyage plan to:

You must report any changes to your voyage to Transport Canada and submit an updated voyage plan at least 24 hours ahead of changing course.

Consequences of not reporting

It’s the Master’s job to make sure that all required documents are sent to Transport Canada. These documents should be complete and accurate.

Canadian law gives Transport Canada’s inspectors the power to direct a vessel somewhere it can be inspected, or if they feel the vessel is somehow unsafe. When inspectors find deficiencies (issues), Transport Canada has a number of tools we can use to deal with the issue, like:

  • requiring the issues be corrected within a specific amount of time
  • allowing the vessel to proceed to another port, or
  • prohibiting the vessel from entering the Canadian Arctic waters


If you have any questions about this Ship Safety Bulletin, please email:


The information in this bulletin complements any other legal obligation of the owner, operator, master and all who have an interest in the vessel, and to the exercise of due diligence and good seamanship practices that are required from the master of a vessel.

Relevant links


1. Voyage plans
2. Passenger vessel
3. Inspection

Questions concerning this Bulletin should be addressed to:

Regional Director
Prairie and Northern Region
Transport Canada
Marine Safety and Security
344 Edmonton St
Winnipeg, MB R3C 0P6



Contact us at: Email: or Telephone: 1-855-859-3123 (Toll Free).