POLAR WATER OPERATIONAL MANUAL

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WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE PWOM?

The Polar Water Operational Manual(PWOM) is a ship related reference document that explains in detail how the ship shall be operated in the polar waters. The procedures address operations under both normal & emergency conditions.

If you operate a SOLAS certified ship in the polar waters, then you must have a PWOM & it must be present aboard the ship.

The goal of the PWOM is to notify the master & crew about the ship’s capabilities, limitations & essential operating procedures when in the polar waters. It is intended to help them take sound operational decisions & actions to protect the ship, its crew & passengers, & the polar environment.

WHAT SHALL BE IN THE MANUAL?

The Manual must specify each hazard identified as the relevant in the ship’s Polar Code operational risk assessment. This might include sea ice, cold temperatures, topside icing & high latitudes.

Where equipment is used to reduce the hazard, the PWOM must explain how to operate it. Where procedures are used, the PWOM must spell them out.

The Manual must include(or refer to) certain procedures that the crew shall follow under the following conditions:

  • during normal operations, to prevent encountering conditions that exceed the ship’s capabilities;
  • in the event the ship faces conditions that exceed its capabilities & limitations;
  • in the event of an incident in the polar waters;
  • when plying in the ice, either independently or with an icebreaker escort(if ice-capable).

WHAT TYPES OF PROCEDURES MUST IT CONTAIN?

The requirements for the PWOM are found in Part l-A & 2 of the Polar Code. Among others, the PWOM must includes procedures for the following:

  • voyage planning in polar waters;
  • how to assess ice conditions & determine whether it is safe for the ship to proceed further;
  • how to receive & use ice forecasts;
  • how to operate equipment & keep system functions during freezing temperatures, topside icing & sea ice;
  • what to do if the ship come across ice or cold temperatures that exceed its design capability;
  • what to do in case of an emergency situation, including how to contact emergency response providers.

WHAT DOES AN APPROVED MANUAL LOOK LIKE?

Many different types of the ships operate in the Polar Regions. They differ widely in their design & ability to operate in ice & cold temperature. Some can operate year round in multi year ice, while others do not operate in the ice at all. Because the PWOM must be adjust to each ship, its arrangement & its intended operation, there is no single example or template for an acceptable Manual.

Appendix 2 to the Polar Code consists a model table of contents for the PWOM. This can be used as the beginning point in organizing a Manual for the ship.

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE MANUAL?

The owner is responsible for providing a PWOM. Ideally, the Manual should be developed by those who best know the ship & its crew, its operations in the polar waters, & the company’s safety management system.