BIMCO has updated and expanded its online database on ice information
The updated web-based resource now reflects International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) recently amended International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code) and revisions to national rules, which regulate vessel navigation in Arctic and Antarctic waters.
BIMCO’s Head of Maritime Information, Peter Lundahl Rasmussen said "A lot of national regulations have been changed to reflect the revisions to the international Polar Code that went into force in 2017. The guidance provided by the individual Arctic states applicable to their regions is now referenced in the ice information available on the BIMCO website."
In 2019, BIMCO co-published an ice information handbook – Ice Navigation and Seamanship Handbook – to expand its service on ice management. Updates to the website have incorporated some of the information available in the book.
Mr Rasmussen said the idea of aligning the website and the handbook is to make it easier for members to find the up-to-date information required to plan a route in polar waters. Having an accurate understanding of ice conditions is vital for voyage planning through often difficult to navigate icy waters.
As climate change continues to reduce the amount of ice in polar waters, trade routes are expanding. Russia, a major oil and gas exporter, has begun sending shipments of fuel through Arctic waters.
BIMCO said it is also keeping an eye on future developments in the field like the European Space Agency’s Copernicus Programme the European Union’s satellite-based Earth observation programme. The Copernicus Polar Ice and Snow Topography Altimeter Mission will use satellites to monitor sea-ice thickness, among other measurements, which will be valuable information for the maritime industry.