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General Requirements, STCW Certificates & Training Required for Master, Chief Mate, and OICNW Serving in Polar Waters

polar code imo

The International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code) was developed to supplement existing IMO instruments in order to increase the safety of ship operations and protect the environment in the Polar Regions. It addresses design, construction, equipment, training, search and rescue and environmental protection matters relevant to ships operating in the waters surrounding the two poles and the Polar Code entered into force on January 1, 2017. The Polar Code applies to ships operating in polar waters, defined as Arctic waters and/or the Antarctic area.

Masters, chief mates and officers in charge of a navigational watch are to be qualified in accordance with chapter V of the STCW Convention, 1978, as amended. The requirements will be set out in regulation V/4 of the STCW Convention and detailed in section A-V/4 of the STCW Code. It is anticipated that these amendments will enter into force on July 1, 2018.

polar waters map

You may also check our STCW Code Section for Polar Code



Polar Code Requirements for CoP in Basic Training

  • Training Requirements: Every candidate for the CoP in Basic Training for ships operating in polar waters shall have completed an approved basic training course.
  • Sea Service Requirements: There are no special seagoing service or experience requirements for this level of training.
  • Transitional Provisions for Basic Training Until July 1, 2020: Having completed approved seagoing service on board a ship operating in polar waters or equivalent approved seagoing service, performing duties in the deck department at the operational or management level, for a period of at least 3 months in total during the preceding 5 years; OR Having successfully completed a training course meeting the training guidance established by the IMO for ships operating in polar waters

Polar Code Requirements for CoP in Advanced Training

  • Certificate Requirements: Meet the requirements for certification in Basic Training for ships in polar waters
  • Training Requirements: Have completed approved advanced training for ships operating in polar waters and meet the standard of competence specified in the STCW Code
  • Sea Service Requirements: Have at least 2 months of approved seagoing service in the deck department, at management level or while performing watchkeeping duties at the operational level, within polar waters or other equivalent approved seagoing service
  • Transitional Provisions for Advanced Training until July 1, 2020: Having completed approved seagoing service on board a ship operating in polar waters or equivalent approved seagoing service, performing duties in the deck department at management level, for a period of at least 3 months in total during the preceding 5 years; OR  Having successfully completed a training course meeting the training guidance established by the IMO for ships operating in polar waters and having completed approved seagoing service on board a ship operating in polar waters or equivalent approved seagoing service, performing duties in the deck department at the management level, for a period of at least 2 months in total during the preceding 5 years

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Training Requirements for Polar Code

polar code table
  Table: Polar Code training requirements. Credits: ICS

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