The Forum was established by PAME in 2017 to take forward the practical provision of best practice advice for shipping operators and others with specific reference to the IMO’s Polar Code in the Arctic.

The major deliverable of the Forum is the Web Portal www.arcticshippingforum.is which provides best practice information from the members of the Forum ordered by Chapter of the Polar Code. The Forum is clear that this is information, not advice or regulation or requirement. The emphasis on effective compliance rests firmly with the operators and others.

This second meeting was well attended with over 50 organisations and individuals represented, including IMO, WMO, Arctic Regional Hydrographic Commission, Classification Societies, cruise and cargo operators and association representatives, insurance companies and numerous national regulators. Some of the major flag states for vessels, including cruise vessels, were notable by their absence – an issue that the Secretariat hope to address for the next meeting.

The meeting was chaired by Dr Anita Makinen (Finnish Transport Safety Agency), with support from Peter Oppenheimer (NOAA & PAME Shipping Expert Group) and Drummond Fraser (Transport Canada).

Presentations and discussions were a mixture of technical sessions about the development of systems and processes to increase the safety and environmental standards of shipping in the Arctic, together with sessions looking forward to future development of the Code and related regulations.

The Forum is ambitious for what it can help operators and others to achieve in improving safety and environmental standards in Arctic shipping related to the Polar Code. It is hoped that the Forum will feature in the Ministerial Statement agreed at the end of the Finnish Chairmanship of the Arctic Council next year.

There is a strong rationale to maintain IASC engagement and definite potential for specific links. Having concentrated on the technical and practical advice in relation to the Code there is clear potential and need to also think about the social and human elements, including Indigenous people.

The official note of the meeting is available here.