New rules to provide for increased ship safety and protection of the polar environment. The rules form part of the Polar Code.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adopted stricter requirements for ships operating in Arctic and Antarctic waters.

In terms of environmental protection, the IMO has introduced a total ban on the discharge of oil and chemicals along with stricter requirements for the discharge of sewage and waste in polar waters.

Ship safety is also increased by several mandatory measures, including lifeboats, clothing of persons on board and fire extinguishing equipment.

This marks a historic milestone in the IMO's work to protect ships and people aboard them and the environment of the harsh waters surrounding the two poles. The Polar Code is expected to enter into force for newly-constructed ships on 1 January 2017.

"Ships constructed before 1 January 2017 will be required to meet the relevant requirements of the Polar Code by the first intermediate or renewal survey, whichever occurs first, after 1 January 2018", the IMO announces.