• Contracting Governments to provide the North Atlantic Ice Patrol Service.
  • Ships transiting the North Atlantic iceberg region during the ice season to make use of the Service.
  • Requirements for maintaining the service.
  • Appendix 1 to the Regulations contains the Rules covering the service.

The Ice Patrol contributes to safety of life at sea, safety and efficiency of navigation and protection of the marine environment in the North Atlantic. Ships transiting the region of icebergs guarded by the Ice Patrol during the ice season are required to make use of the services provided by the Ice Patrol.

The Contracting Governments undertake to continue an ice patrol and a service for study and observation of ice conditions in the North Atlantic. During the whole of the ice season, i.e. for the period from February 15th through July 1st of each year, the south-eastern, southern and south-western limits of the region of icebergs in the vicinity of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland shall be guarded for the purpose of informing passing ships of the extent of this dangerous region; for the study of ice conditions in general; and for the purpose of affording assistance to ships and crews requiring aid within the limits of operation of the patrol ships and aircraft. During the rest of the year the study and observation of ice conditions shall be maintained as advisable.

When proceeding through an active Ice Control Zone, all ships to which the guidelines apply should, have on board at least one “Ice Advisor”, 

Arctic Shipping Pollution Prevention Regulations

Shipping Safety Control Zones Order

Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Regulations

Navigation Safety Regulations

Ship Station (Radio) Regulations

Charts and Nautical Publications Regulations, 1995

IMO Guidelines for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Guidelines) aim to promote safety of navigation and to prevent pollution from ship operations in polar waters. The Guidelines, when applied in their entirety, result in a holistic approach covering the design and outfitting of ships for the conditions that they will encounter, their crewing by adequate numbers of suitably trained personnel, and their operation in a planned and prudent manner.

The Polar Guidelines take into account that the single most significant factor in polar operations is ice by recommending that only those ships with a Polar Class designation or a comparable alternative standard of ice-strengthening appropriate to the anticipated ice conditions should operate in polar ice-covered waters. The Polar Guidelines provide guidance in structural design or machinery requirements through reference to a parallel set of Unified Requirements for Polar Ships developed by the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS).The Polar Guidelines also address the fact that the polar environment imposes additional demands on ship systems such as: navigation, communications, lifesaving, fire-fighting, etc. They emphasize the need to ensure that all ship systems are capable of functioning effectively under anticipated operating conditions, notably the possibility of extreme cold. The Polar Guidelines stipulate that systems should provide adequate levels of safety in emergencies. In addition, The Polar Guidelines recognize that safe operation in polar conditions requires specific attention to human factors including training and operational procedures. All ships operating under the Polar Guidelines should carry on board a sufficient number of Ice Navigators to guide operations when ice is present.

 In general, when a vessel has to advance through ice areas, the progress of

the ship will be dependent on:

(a) The nature of the ice.

(b) The qualities of the vessel, scantlings, ice breaker bow construction,

and motive power of machinery.

(c) Expertise and experience of the Master.

(d) Operational qualities of navigational instruments.

(e) Assistance of tugs or ice breaker vessels.

( f ) Ice convoy facilities.

 It has been found by experience that ship-handling in ice can be

achieved by observing one or two basic principles:

1. The vessel must endeavor to keep moving into the ice and making headway. Even if the movement is only very slight, it must be maintained.

2. It is best for the vessel to move with the ice, not against it.

3. Maintain freedom to move, bearing in mind that excessive speed lends itself to ice damage.

4. The mariner will require a great deal of patience.

SOLAS Regulation 34 – Safe navigation and avoidance of dangerous situations Prior to proceeding to sea, the master shall ensure that the intended voyage has been planned using the appropriate nautical charts and nautical publications for the area concerned, taking into account the guidelines and recommendations developed by the Organization.

The voyage plan shall identify a route which:

  1. takes into account any relevant ships’ routeing systems
  2. ensures sufficient sea room for the safe passage of the ship throughout the voyage
  3. anticipates all known navigational hazards and adverse weather conditions; and
  4. takes into account the marine environmental protection measures that apply, and avoids, as far as possible, actions and activities which could cause damage to the environment

Control Testing Procedure: ( to be done by a certified navigational officer):

  • Passage Plan & Publications ready.
  • Compasses checked & compared. Azimuth mirror placed.
  • Clocks compared and synchronized.(Bridge & Engine room)
  • Communication system (Internal & External) VHF radio switched on & tuned. Portable walkie talkie batteries charged.
  • Engine Telegraph & Main Engines: Telegraphs checked & synchronized. Main engines tested between half hour notice to engine room & standby engines. Entry shall be made in the movement book for the time engines tried out.
  • Steering Gear- both steering motors switched on Rudder movement checked.
  • Lights –Nav lights, Christmas tree lights, Deck lights including Pilot ladder lights, Fwd& aft station lights, Search lights, Morse Signalling light on christmas tree, Aldis Lamp, Hand held torches.

Bridge Equipment:

Both Radars switched on checked & kept standby

Speed Log

GPS/ other electronic fixing aids operational & updated with route plan

ECDIS switched on updated with route plan

Course recorder

Echo Sounder

Binoculars kept

Navtex switched on & set to correct stations

AIS updated

BNWAS Checked & ready for use

Pneumatic whistle, fog horn, bell, gong & electric klaxon checked

Country flags, company flag, pilot flag, dangerous cargo flag, ensign flag etc. checked

GMDSS equipment on & in operation

Bridge Equipment:

  • Bridge front window wipers/clear view screens shall be checked & clear & operational.
  • Deck Machinery: Winches, windlass, gangway motor power supply checked. Anchors checked & lashings removed.
  • Control panel for UMS ships checked in consultation with duty Engineer officer.
  • Pilot Card duly filled, Pilot ladder arrangements
  • Vessel’s draft checked & displayed in the bridge.
  • Engine Room, bridge team, deck officers & crew of plan to berthing/unberthing/anchoring.