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Through the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act (AWPPA) of 1970, the Government of Canada enforces its responsibility for ensuring that navigation in the Arctic waters is controlled so as to preserve and protect the sensitive northern ecosystem.

The Arctic Ice Regime Shipping System (System) has been developed to enhance the safety and efficiency of shipping operations in the Canadian Arctic. It characterizes the relative risk which different ice conditions pose to the structure of different ships.

The System is eventually intended to replace the Zone/Date Shipping Safety Control scheme under the Arctic Shipping Pollution Prevention Regulations (ASPPR). The old scheme was based on rigid controls. The new System emphasizes the responsibility of the Master for the safety of the ship, and provides a more flexible framework to assist in decision-making. It requires a higher level of experience for ice navigators, and full use of available ice information.

During a transitional period, the System will work in parallel with the zone date controls. Operators will continue to be able to use the Zone/Date scheme to plan voyages to the Arctic. They are encouraged to use the System to help avoid dangerous conditions.

Voyages outside the Zone/Date limits must use the System. This means that ships are prohibited from entering ice regimes assessed as having negative ice numerals, using the calculation procedure described later in the standards.

Throughout the transitional period, experience with the System will be used to improve it, or to provide clarification on its use by both commercial ship operators and the Canadian government. Operators are therefore requested to provide feedback and to offer suggestions based on their use of the System.

Following the transitional period, consideration will be given to extend the use of the System to all voyages. By using the System, operators are given broad discretion in the planning and execution of Arctic voyages. The Canadian government retains the duty to intervene to prevent dangerous situations from arising, and will use the System as an important tool in making such decisions.

The Master as an Ice Navigator or with the assistance of one, will be responsible for interpreting the existing and forecast ice conditions for safe navigation and for passage planning.

The purpose of this publication is to make Masters, navigating officers, ship owners and operators and crew aware of their responsibilities under the Arctic Ice Regime Shipping System, and to provide them information which may guide them in conducting their vessel safely through the ice conditions in the Arctic.

After the transition period, it is expected that the after action reporting will only be required to be made when the ship has encountered and entered a regime which has a negative numeral as determined from the ice information on the ice charts from the Canadian Ice Service.

Periodically this publication will be reviewed and updated to incorporate users’ comments, and other changes. Please forward your comments to:

Regional Director, Marine
Prairie & Northern Region (AMNS-OTT)
Transport Canada
Place de Ville, Tower C
330 Sparks St., 14th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0N5

Telephone: (613) 991-6004
Facsimile: (613) 991-4818

List of Abbreviations

AIRSS - Arctic Ice Regime Shipping System
ASPPR - Arctic Shipping Pollution Prevention Regulations
AWPPA - Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act
CAC - Canadian Arctic Category
CCG - Canadian Coast Guard
CSA - Canada Shipping Act
ECAREG - Eastern Canada Traffic System
IM - Ice Multiplier
IN - Ice Numeral
NORDREG - Arctic Canada Traffic System
PPO - Pollution Prevention Officer

A short guide to the steps in applying the Arctic Ice Regime Shipping System

  1. Obtain current ice information for the planned passage;
  2. Select a desired route;
  3. Determine the ice regime boundaries on the route;
  4. Determine the Ice Numerals (IN) on the route for each separate ice regime;
  5. If all the Ice Numerals are zero or greater, advise NORDREG, submit an Ice Regime Routing Message and proceed ( Go to 8 );
  6. If the Ice Numeral for an ice regime is negative, consider the alternatives, such as selecting another route, waiting for improvement in ice conditions or requesting assistance of an icebreaker;
  7. When an icebreaker or other vessel modifies a regime, or there is a change in the ice conditions, giving positive Ice Numerals, proceed after advising NORDREG; and
  8. On completion of the voyage, send the After Action Report to Prairie & Northern Region - Marine (AMNS-OTT), Ottawa.

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