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The impact of the Polar Code on risk mitigation in Arctic waters: a ‘Toolbox’ for underwriters?

Abstract : The existing risk weighing on vessel, crew and ecosystem in the Arctic and more globally in Polar waters promoted the adoption of the Polar Code (PC) early 2017, a mandatory international legal framework intended for enhanced safety and environmental protection. While the substance of the PC has been extensively analyzed, few studies have focused on the underlying relationships between the PC and underwriters. Based on an extensive literature review, documentary materials and interviews with insurance companies, this article conceptualizes the PC as a “toolbox” and analyzes how underwriters can exploit it in their work within the emerging Arctic market. The PC does not only regulate the navigation in Arctic waters in legal terms, but is also aimed at mitigating risks in the Polar areas through the identification of hazard sources and proceduralization of risk assessment. As a result we observe a certain “Polar Code paradox”. Even though the PC is a risk-based instrument and constitutes a key step for improving ship insurability, it has only limited capacity to assist underwriters in assessing risks and insuring vessels. Marine insurers still face a lack of data and high pending uncertainties leading them to exercise extreme caution with Arctic risks appraisal.
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https://hal-normandie-univ.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02065910
Contributor : Jacques-Olivier Catois <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, March 13, 2019 - 9:26:10 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, October 14, 2020 - 8:40:04 AM

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Laurent Fedi, Olivier Faury, Daria Gritsenko. The impact of the Polar Code on risk mitigation in Arctic waters: a ‘Toolbox’ for underwriters?. Maritime Policy and Management, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2018, 45 (4), pp.478-494. ⟨10.1080/03088839.2018.1443227⟩. ⟨hal-02065910⟩

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