Canada's Implementation of the Polar Code

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Polar Code, International Maritime Regulation, Arctic, Antarctic, Shipping, Canada


Canada's approach to the development and implementation of the International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code) has been guided by a unique combination of concerns. Canada has long claimed that, while the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS) governs the Arctic Ocean region, the waters enclosed by the Canadian archipelago are internal, subject to its sovereignty and within which is has special responsibilities. The Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act 1970, the principal instrument for the regulation of shipping in the region, expresses Canada's responsibilities for the welfare of its indigenous peoples and other inhabitants, and the preservation of the ecological balance in the marine, ice and land areas of the unique environment.