Arctic sailing web portal launched

Neil Roberts, Head of Marine Underwriting, Lloyd’s Market Association and member of the IUMI Policy Forum, IUMI Member Association has reported in the latest Iumi Eye that in May the 2nd Arctic Shipping Best Practice Information Forum was attended by representatives from over 40 interested organisations, in addition to the eight Arctic States (Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden and the United States). The Forum was founded in 2017 to help raise awareness and to promote the effective implementation of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code).

Over the past year, many stakeholders have contributed information to the Forum and this has enabled the launch of a public web-portal, accessible at:

The new portal comprises over 120 pieces of information from authoritative sources including the Arctic States, intergovernmental organisations, classification societies, the shipping industry, marine insurers, and non-governmental organisations.

The submissions have all been checked by Arctic State experts, and so can be relied on as accurate.

Roberts noted that, for the first time, there was a central archive of dependable hydrographic, meteorological and ice data.

The portal is intended to be regularly updated as new information becomes available.

Roberts said that the resource would “undoubtedly be of use to anyone considering an Arctic voyage and the risk assessment around it.”

Recent additions include detailed Danish guidance for navigation around Greenland and Norwegian charts for the corridor around Spitsbergen.

Roberts noted that only 5% of the Arctic was mapped to modern standards, and that the information on many charts dated back to before 1950. These could incorporate a 25% depth error and a 500-metre positional error.