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Global marine classification society American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) has collaborated with TE SubCom to facilitate a polar code operational assessment on SubCom's Responder cable-laying vessel.

The evaluation was performed in support of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Polar Code, which came into force in January.

ABS conducted extensive analyses of air temperature and sea ice data around Responder's intended operational vicinity as part of the assessment.

The exercise has helped form a base for the polar code operational assessment, which ultimately led to a better understanding of the risks assosciated with the vessel's deployment.

ABS chairman president and CEO Christopher Wiernicki said: “Completing this assessment is a critical milestone for the marine industry and the first of its kind in North America.

“As shipping routes expand into harsher and colder environments, the industry needs a trusted advisor that can help navigate new challenges without compromising safety.”

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Vessels are required to undergo an assessment defining its intended operational profile, as well as identifying any relevant hazards, in order to achieve a polar ship certification (PSC).

"As a proactive, responsible vessel operator, we believe it is imperative that we embrace industry initiatives to protect our people and the environment."

The data helps owners and operators select the most appropriate risk control measures that need to be taken to comply with the ship's PSC requirements.

TE SubCom marine and network construction vice-president Christopher Carobene said: “As a proactive, responsible vessel operator, we believe it is imperative that we embrace industry initiatives to protect our people and the environment, particularly as they pertain to the polar regions.

“Pioneering the implementation of these regulations with ABS grants us a more complete picture of our fleet’s preparedness for polar operations and enables us to confidently move forward with these regional projects.”

ABS first established the Harsh Environment Technology Center (HETC) in 2009 to support the development of advance technologies required to address the increase in shipping activities throughout polar region.

Image: ABS performs a polar code operational assessment on TE SubCom’s cable-laying vessel, Responder. Photo: courtesy of TE SubCom.