Ship Safety Bulletins

Date (Y-M-D): 1997-05-05

Subject: The Arctic Ice Regime Shipping System ( AIRSS )

In 1996, two important changes were made to the Arctic Shipping Pollution Prevention Regulations. They will increase operational flexibility, and provide improved safety.

  1. The first change is explained in detail in the Arctic Ice Regime Shipping System Standard. This new System changes the requirements for ships wishing to navigate in regulated Arctic waters outside scheduled zone/date limits.

    Qualified 'ice navigators' can use the method prescribed in the System to determine the 'ice numeral' for the prevailing conditions. This provides an index of safety for navigation decisions.

    Before entering any zone using the system, masters must inform NORDREG , providing the ice numerals and other information specified. After completion of the voyage, an After Action Report must be sent to Transport Canada.

    Following a transitional period, the new System will be extended to cover all Arctic voyages. Operators are therefore encouraged to gain familiarity with it, and to provide feedback on their experience.
  2. The second change may affect more ships immediately. It changes the qualifications required by ice navigators in order to be recognized under the Regulations and Standards.

    The required experience is increased from 5 days to 50 days; which must be gained in conditions which posed ice navigation challenges. These are defined in the regulations as conditions which "required the ship to be assisted by an icebreaker or make manoeuvres to avoid concentrations of ice that might have endangered the ship".

Under the amendments, an ice navigator is no longer required during any part of a voyage which takes place in open water. Other date and ship type requirements remain as before.

Copies of the amended Regulations, and of the new Standards, may be obtained from:

Transport Canada (AMNS)
Prairie & Northern Region, Marine
Place de Ville, Tower C, 14th Floor
330 Sparks Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0N5

Phone: (613) 991 - 6004
Facsimile: (613) 991 - 4818

Keywords:                                  Questions concerning this bulletin should be addressed to:

1. Arctic
2. Ice Navigator
R.L. Wolfe
(613) 991-2479
Transport Canada
Marine Safety
Tower C, Place de Ville
11th Floor, 330 Sparks Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N8

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