This is because a wide variety of ships under various registrations will ply the Arctic Ocean when full-scale international commercial shipping begins in the NSR, and a consistent set of rules will be needed for the rational evaluation of ship safety. A working committee has been established to examine this issue of harmonization, consisting of related parties from Canada, Russia, Finland, the United States and others. After a series of deliberations that began in 1993, in 1998 this committee submitted a draft report of "The International Code of Safety for Ships in Polar Waters" (Polar Code) to the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The Polar Code called for in this proposal covers a wide range of topics, including construction requirements, equipment and operational requirements. This Code unifies the former classifications of icebreakers and ice-strengthened ships as well as their sub-classifications into Polar Class (PC) 1 through 7 (Table 4.1-2). For each of these Polar Classes, the ice conditions and time of season in which each applicable type of ship can navigate are stipulated. Although the Polar Code does not draw a distinction between icebreakers and ice-strengthened ships, Classes PC1 through PC5 can be said to correspond to icebreakers, while PC6 and PC7 correspond to the higher grades of ice-strengthened ships. The Polar Code also defined the term "polar seas," with some allowance for geography, as seas above 60｡?. Therefore, all ships plying the NSR fall under the Polar Code. At this point, however, the Polar Code remains at the proposal stage and is not intended to be obligatory.
As for the requirements of ship structures and marine engines in the Code, the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) has established an Ad-hoc Group for Polar Ship Unified Requirements, which will form an important element of the overall harmonization of requirements for polar ships. This body, which has been endorsed by the IMO and by all national administrations with responsibilities over Arctic Waters, has formed an Outside Working Group to develop a Code that includes rules governing design and operational aspects of ship safety. However, some significant areas of contention remain, such as a proposal to exclude the Antarctic Ocean (south of 60｡?) from the Polar Seas (Karaminas, 1999). A final decision by the IMO is currently pending, subject to hearings and coordination among the relevant governments and agencies.
Table 4.1-2 Class Descriptions
4.1.2 Icebreaking Ships in Russia
(1) Icebreaking freighters of the SA-15 class
Marine transportation in ice-infested waters has been developed in the Baltic Sea, the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River, the Barents Sea, some regions of the NSR and the Canadian Arctic. In all of these regions, freighters and tankers with ice-going capability have been constructed and used for commercial shipping of a wide range of cargoes (Table 4.1-3). In Russia, under the planned economy of the Soviet era, an extraordinary fleet of polar ships was established to handle such shipping in the NSR and major rivers such as the Ob and Yenisey.