Solicitor from West Cork helped draw up Polar Code

Michael Kingston
Michael Kingston

A maritime lawyer from West Cork helped to draw up the International Maritime Oragnisation’s new Polar Code, which came into force in January.

Solicitor Michael Kingston, who is based in London but hails from Goleen, told the Southern Star that he became interested in maritime law after his father’s tragic death in the 1979 Whiddy Oil disaster.

He has now played a role in developing a Code designed “to protect ships and people aboard them, both seafarers and passengers, in the harsh environment of the waters surrounding the two poles”.

Mr Kingston is currently working with the eight Arctic Council states and environmental NGOs to establish a new safety forum to help put the Polar Code into practice.

He is trying to encourage Ireland to join the Council as an observer like the UK, in liaison with the Irish Institute of Master Mariners.

Mr Kingston told the Southern Star: “Ireland must become observing members of the Arctic Council. The path has been paved and given our Polar heritage going back to the days of St Brendan we must take our place at the table with our Arctic neighbours.

“We are missing out on huge maritime opportunities, and the ability to influence the shaping of the future of an area of the world that is critical to our climate in so many ways.”