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#PolarCode - A London based Irish lawyer has been to the forefront of a ground-breaking safety forum for ships in the Polar regions.

Former Lloyds Maritime Lawyer of the Year Michael Kingston from Goleen reports the Southern Star has been integral to drawing up the new Polar Code, which protects the two Polar regions – the Arctic and the Antarctic – from maritime risks. It came into force in January.

Mr Kingston became interested in maritime law years after his own father tragically died in the Whiddy Oil disaster in 1979 when the Betelgeuse tanker exploded in Bantry Bay, Co. Cork.

The Polar Code requires ship owners to have in place contingency plans for all aspects of marine operations including safety of navigation, pollution incidents, ship structure requirements, and search and rescue plans.

In parallel, Lloyd’s and Lloyd’s Register have been actively involved in an industry-led, bottom-up approach to help create standards that will mitigate risk and support those underwriters writing marine risk in polar waters.

Kingston has worked with all eight Arctic states, and many other organisations, including the environmental NGOs, to establish a new forum which should prevent operators from ignoring the requirements of the Polar Code.

Kingston liaises closely with the Irish Institute of Master Mariners and is working on Ireland becoming an observing member of the Arctic Council.

As a result, the Irish Institute of Master Mariners, as well as the National Maritime College of Ireland and the Commissioner of Irish Lights, will attend a key dinner at Trinity House in London on June 5th.

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Published in Ports & Shipping