In the IMO, the countries have just agreed on training requirements for seafarers on board ships in Arctic regions. Thus, the IMO still follows the plan for finalizing the Polar Code which is to enhance safety of navigation in polar regions.
The new requirements mean that masters and navigating officers must have special training in order to navigate ships in ice, while engineer officers and the rest of the crew must be trained in how to behave in situations of crisis, such as rescue operations. In addition, more comprehensive training requirements will be introduced for all seafarers on board tankers and passenger ships engaged on voyages in icy waters.
This is a short blurb in Officer of the Watch
http://officerofthewatch.com/2014/03/16 ... position=0
I am not quite sure what is being proposed by IMO, but icy conditions do exist outside of the polar areas. I guess the training will extend to ships engaging in trade in the Baltic area and Canadian east coast and shoulder seasons in the Great Lakes.... besides the Arctic and Anarctica areas.
I have had the dubious pleasure of being a watchkeeping engineer in the Arctic, the Baltic and the Gulf of St Lawrence. Other then the fact you are in ice, there are differences. The Gulf of St Lawrence in the spring is, for lack of better words, is a bitch. There is ice, slush and snow ontop. It plugs the seabays quickly if you don't keep the seabay temps up around 25C.
In the Arctic the ice is blue tinged and hard as a rock island, but for the most part it is easier to manage the ER.
It was not uncommon to see ships in the Gulf of St Lawrence being totally unprepared for the realities of cold. Crew not dressed adequately, to trying to bounce into Sept Isle with all the ballast pumped out and milling ice with the prop. We watched an Irving ship ram the fueling dock in Cornerbrook because it couldn't sheer off in the ice.
Operating routinely in ice is only done by the minority in the industry.