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PAME I-2021 Shipping Experts Group (SEG) pre-meeting

Reported by: Natsuhiko OTSUKA (Hokkaido University)
Related research program: Arctic Sea Routes

PAME I-2021 Shipping Experts Group (SEG) pre-meeting was held on 28-29 January 2021, 14.00-17.15 (GMT, 3 hours 15 minutes) as a virtual gathering with over 80 expert participants across the continents. The meeting was comprehensive converting significant aspects on IMO-related developments, the status and discussions on ongoing projects, and ministerial insights, among others.

After a comprehensive discussion on IMO-related developments, several exciting projects led by Iceland, Russia, Canada, Norway, and the USA were discussed with related updates made by the representative from each project.

As leading projects from Iceland, technology development on black carbon emission reduction from shipping activities in the Arctic was discussed to compare methods of fuel and exhaust gas treatment to find the best way for reducing the harmful gases emitted by vessel engines. Besides, a project focusing on wastewater discharges from vessels in the Arctic was proposed to facilitate better knowledge and practices on wastewater discharges through a survey directed at shipping operators and associations.

From Russian experts, projects on regional reception facilities and Paris MOU and Tokyo MOU Polar code inspection campaigns were discussed with details of the proposed sustainable Arctic shipping project.  Highlighting interesting insights, the development of Acoustic intensity maps for shipping in the Circumpolar Arctic was discussed by Canadian experts together with a briefing on Arctic marine tourism and passenger vessel trends (2013-2019) with a special focus on smaller vessel/pleasure craft activities that are not captured within the ASTD system, and the Arctic shipping best practice information forum, among others.

Experts from Norway mainly focused on Polar Code interpretation and practical application while special attention was given towards the relationship between ship category, ice/polar class, ice conditions, and POLARIS as a decision support tool. This aims to enable unified interpretation on ship category while using POLARIS or similar acceptable tools only as a decision support tool on board and not be part of considerations in deciding the ship category.

Further, discussions were made on new low sulfur fuels, fate, and behavior in cold water conditions, among others while sharing interesting intuitions especially due to the various properties of fuel types in cold water, and results are expected to support marine oil spill prevention, preparedness, and response activities as well. Moreover, as the projects led by the USA, significant consideration was given towards Arctic Shipping Traffic Data (ASTD) system and Arctic Shipping Status Reports (ASSR).

Besides, discussions were made on the Compendium of Arctic Ship Accidents (CASA) for developing a standardized reporting template and identifying a schedule for future CASA updates, while perspectives on strengthening observer engagement in PAME’s shipping work, among others were elaborated.

Moreover, additional 2021 ministerial deliverables were focused on understanding impacts of underwater noise in the Arctic with defining management solutions, increase in Arctic shipping 2013-2019, and Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) use by ships, among others. Subsequently, a review was made on proposed and reported projects’ inclusion in PAME 2021-2023 work plan. Finally, proposals, ideas, and recommendations for strengthening PAME’s monthly SEG calls were made including other comprehensive ideas.

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