Regulatory framework for Arctic cruising

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Insinööritieteiden korkeakoulu | Master's thesis
Nordic Master in Maritime Engineering
Degree programme
Master’s Programme in Mechanical Engineering
For the last 10 years the entirety of the shipping industry has start looking into the melting Arctic for opportunities to expand their activities. Regulatory authorities at the same time try to anticipate issues and address older well known problems in their legal texts. Last year a prominent cruise company had announced their plan to route one of their more luxurious ship for month long cruise through the infamous North Western Pass in Canadian Arctic in 2016. The ship will be biggest passenger ship ever to sail those waters. Meanwhile, IMO for the last 20 years is attempting to fill the regulatory gap of Arctic shipping with a mandatory Polar Code for the first time in regulatory history, a code that is going into effect in the next 2 years. The purpose of this thesis is to review the current legal framework, understand the intricacies and prime motive behind creating it, evaluate its provisions wile comparing them to the documented challenges that the Arctic region is struggling with and propose changes in the current regulatory framework about passenger ships sailing into the Arctic waters. In order to achieve such a lofty goal a long process was started for studding the Arctic regions, geography, climate, history of its inhabitants and the Arctic cruising industry, through all available resources (scientific reports, literature, opinion articles by specialist and more). The knowledge acquired by the process applied into a summary attempt to locate and catalogue the challenges that can be related with Arctic shipping and provide each of the member of that list with a short but thorough justification and background information. Six different categories of challenges were recognised ship safety, environmental protection, passenger safety, infrastructure, cultural and government and law. For each of the six categories a second round of critique went on in order to identify and describe specific problems and finally focused the attention in nine problems that were in some cases combination of challenges from different categories. Specific legal texts related to those nine problems were recognised and studied. Then the problems analysed for their merit to acquire further legal regulation and/or protection by related regulatory provisions. During that analysis the prominent factor of Risk management was recognised as a paramount. For that reason the proposed by the IMO Polar Operational Limit Assessment and Risk Indexing System) was studied and experimentally applied to the ship that will make the cruising trip next summer, with the use of historical Ice regime information and the route schedule provided by the owner company. Finally in the last chapter details the conclusions of the study’s deliberations and exhibits the proposal for regulatory changes for each of the cases.
Kujala, Pentti
Thesis advisor
Jalonen, Risto
regulations, framework, Arctic, cruising, rules, risk