March 22, 2014 – International Salvage Union organized its Associate members’ annual day this week in London – the opportunity for nearly 120 salvors and associate members to take the pulse of salvage today and imagine the future of the profession. On everyone’s lips , a single subject : the Arctic.
As recalled together the various stakeholders, resources for Search & Rescue (SAR ) are insufficient in the Arctic. This is now a source of concern as the region is now open to international shipping. However, the remoteness but also lack of local info such as cartography and extreme weather conditions are likely to complicate salvage operations if an accident were to occur.
And to all the experts , accidents will occur.
This awareness is not, however, accompanied by concrete actions from the authorities and companies willing to exploit the local resources and navigate in the area.
IMO has taken up the issue with the Polar Code. But it barely include salvage-friendly measures. Supported by the International Salvage Union, the Maritime Passive Safety Association was one of the few pro-salvage voices to be heard in the working groups.
On the forefront when an accident happens, salvage companies now multiply upstream contacts with shipowners in order to raise awareness to the problem, explain the importance of preparing for emergencies and provide their expertise.
To varying degrees, great ship-owners like CMA CGM and Maersk have seized on the issue. The maritime passive safety association is part of this movement calling for emergency preparedness, which also goes in the same direction of the OPA 90 in the United States.
The maritime world today is aware of the need to minimize the environmental extent of any accident at sea. Arctic appears to be a mirror of these considerations.