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A 2017 New Year’s Resolution with Global Impact: The Polar Code Enters into Force

The Polar Code, or more precisely, the International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters entered into force on Jan. 1, 2017, marking an important milestone in global efforts to protect the polar ecosystems as well as the ships, crews, and maritime passengers transiting defined waters surrounding the poles.

According to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the mandatory Polar Code “sets out mandatory standards that cover the full range of design, construction, equipment, operational, training and environmental protection matters that apply to ships operating in the inhospitable waters surrounding the two poles.”

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New Shipboard Phytosanitation Technology Supports Biomass Wood Chip Exports to EU

Maine’s Eastport Port Authority recently announced a series of licensing, financing, and construction agreements that will enable the near-term installation a shipboard phytosanitation system for treating mixed conifer biomass wood chip cargo at the port of Eastport. The heat-treating system eliminates pests and other pathogens in wood fibers before shipment and is designed to meet the European Union’s stringent phytosanitary import requirements and current USDA regulations. The decision paves the way for the export of bulk wood chips from Maine to the EU for use as biomass fuel as early as Spring 2017.

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USCG Announces Ballast Water Management (BWM) Compliance Program Update

On December 2, 2016, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) issued its first Ballast Water Management System (BWMS) type-approval certificate, ushering in a new era in environmental compliance for companies operating commercial vessels with ballast water systems in U.S. waters (within 12 nautical miles). Based on public information about other, pending applications, we expect additional type approvals to issue soon.

According to the USCG, with type-approved BWMS now available, any owner/operator of a commercial vessel requesting a BWMS extension to the regulatory deadlines for compliance must provide the U.S. Coast Guard with an explicit statement supported by documentary evidence that installation of the type approved system is not possible. Previously, since no BWMS had received USCG type-approval, vessel owners/operators could apply for extensions to a vessel’s compliance date by annotating that compliance was not possible.

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Top 10 Ship Owning Nations

Maritime Cyprus has disseminated on-line an infographic depicting the top ship-owning nations ranked by the vessels' value. While the numbers may be taken with a grain of salt, the relative ranking is still informative and interesting.

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Looking North: A Watershed Moment in Arctic Awareness

October 2016 marked a watershed moment in increased awareness of the importance of the Arctic and regional and global implications of Arctic climate change.  Verrill Dana partnered with the Marine and Oceanographic Technology Network (MOTN) to host a Marine Technology and the North Symposium coincident with the plenary meeting Senior Arctic Officials (SAO) recently convened in Portland, Maine. The Symposium and SAO meeting were perfect catalysts for a month-long series of Maine-based events bringing together some of the leading minds in academia, industry, and government to consider challenges and opportunities in the Arctic.  

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