New safety guidelines for fishing vessels in polar waters - SSB No.: 16/2022

RDIMS No .: 17763655
Date (Y-M-D) : 2022-07-07

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 any fishing vessel that works overnight in polar waters.


This bulletin is to let you know that the International Maritime Organization recently approved new Guidelines for safety measures for fishing vessels of 24m in length and over operating in polar waters. (MSC.1/Circ.1641)


The International Maritime Organization has developed guidelines to supplement existing IMO instruments in order to improve the safety of fishers and fishing vessels that operate in polar waters. The guidelines will also help to limit the impact of these vessels on nearby communities and the environment.

The guidelines support other documents for fishing vessels and vessels in polar waters, like the Cape Town Agreement of 2012. It also notes the special operating conditions of polar waters.

What you need to know

Although these guidelines were written for specific vessels, Transport Canada believes that all fishing vessels undertaking overnight voyages should read, understand and use these guidelines when operating in polar waters.

Before voyaging in the polar waters, consider any extra training, emergency plans or operational procedures you should prepare for your vessel’s operation and crew.


1. International Maritime Organisation
2. Maritime Safety Committee
3. Guidelines for fishing vessels
4. Polar waters

Questions concerning this Bulletin should be addressed to:


Transport Canada
Marine Safety and Security
Tower C, Place de Ville
330 Sparks Street, 11th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N8


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