Friday, 3rd January 2020

Maritime experts in South Tyneside have hailed their role in making the North East the UK leader in high level skills training around a new ‘highway code’ of the planet’s coldest seas.

Their work at world-leading South Shields Marine School means it is the first and only centre in the land to develop training which verses ships’ officers and crews in all aspects of the Polar Code.

Introduced on January 1, 2018, the code is the international protocol of safety for ships operating in north and south polar waters and is designed to protect seafarers from danger and the environment from shipping damage.

In little over a year, the marine school, Britain’s oldest purpose-built maritime training centre, has created in-house two programmes that meet the code’s key requirements for masters, chief mates and officers.

They are around the design and construction of vessels operating in polar waters, the equipment they carry, their operations and crew training, and also environmental protection.

The basic and advanced courses have been compiled by drawing upon the extensive ice navigation experience of its lecturing staff, from both polar regions.

The courses meet the requirements of the International Code for ships operating in Polar Waters.

John Roach, Principal of South Shields Marine School, said: “Adhering to the Polar Code ensures that vessels and crews operating in polar regions will do so in the safest and most environmentally friendly way.

 “This mandatory training not only gives those who take our programmes new knowledge, but also enhances their employability by ensuring that they are fully up to date with current legislation.

“We are the only maritime training centre nationally to offer these courses and thus maintain the UK’s position of being a leading nation in ensuring the competence and quality of training of mariners working on vessels worldwide.”

The Polar Code was introduced by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), creating a need for new training courses that are compulsory for officers and crew operating in the ice wastelands.

Candidates on both courses come from a broad range of companies and organisations, including the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, British Antarctic Survey, National Oceanographic Centre, Teekay Shipping Glasgow and Carnival Cruises.

South Shields Marine School was the first to design and deliver these courses, which have been approved by the UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

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