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06.06.2013 Oslo, Norway Meeting of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS)

A meeting of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) took place on the 6th and 7th of June at Oslo, Norway. Ministers and other Government officials from various shipping nations discussed with the shipping industry representatives the various parameters of the IMO Polar Code which is purported to become mandatory in 2014as an amendment to the SOLAS and MARPOL Conventions. The meeting was also attended by the Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the Cyprus shipping industry was represented by the president of the Cyprus Shipping Chamber (CSC), Capt Dirk Fry and Mr. Thomas Kazakos.

Various issues were stressed by the attendees regarding the IMO Polar Code currently in development. It was stated that there is a need for the code to be implemented in a way which balances economic advancement and environmental sustainability in the area. Other issues raised by the speakers and attendees were the legal status of the Arctic waters and the avoidance of discriminatory requirements towards vessels of Non Arctic Nations’ flags. Also, the need for a “risk-oriented “development of the IMO Polar Code taking into account the possible hazards/risks faced by vessels calling the Arctic when imposing the mandatory requirements.

Closing the ICS meeting, the speakers acknowledged the significance of the IMO Polar Code and stressed that its’ implementation is of the essence. It is the view of this writer that such meetings significantly contribute in the development of a solid legal frame for shipping. The law has straggled in the past years to reconcile the nature of shipping, which is inherently international with the cultural, economic, political and legal, area characteristics of each region regulating the industry through various Conventions. The development of these Conventions was unquestionably sincere attempt and a big step but the implementation through their signatories and their harmonization a whole other story.

Athos Myrianthous

Advocate, MSC, LLM, LLB (Hons)