The Clean Arctic Alliance, (CAA) has urged the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to remain focused on the goal of developing a ban on the use and carriage of heavy fuel oil (HFO) in the Arctic, according to a statement.
The remarks come as the IMO’s Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR 6) opens today at the organisation’s headquarters in London, UK.
They follow an October 2018 meeting of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 73), which included the presentation of assessment methodology on the effects of HFO on the Arctic eco-system.
During that meeting, several major IMO members, including the US, UK, Canada, France and Denmark, supported plans to mitigate the use of HFO, including an outright ban, in the Arctic.
In October 2018, a PTI insight – Is the Arctic Route the Future of Shipping? – looked at the viability of the Arctic region as a shipping channel
Speaking about the PPR 6 gathering, Dr Sian Prior, Lead Advisor to the CAA said: “While IMO delegates gather to discuss ways to mitigate the impacts of heavy fuel oil (HFO) – the dirtiest of ships’ fuels – on Arctic ecosystems, IMO member states must keep their sights firmly on the need for a ban, especially in light of recent revelations from the IPCC on the urgent need to limiting the effects of climate change on the Arctic region.”
Credit: Clean Arctic Alliance
“The Arctic is warming faster than anywhere else on earth – and as sea ice recedes, any increased HFO-fueled shipping in the region will exacerbate the climate crisis, through the deposits of black carbon caused by the burning of HFO, onto sea ice and ice caps.
“By banning both the use and carriage of HFO as fuel from ships operating in Arctic waters, the risks of a catastrophic oil spill can also be avoided.
“The Clean Arctic Alliance calls for the work on the development of the Arctic HFO ban to be concluded swiftly, so that it can be adopted in 2021, and phased in by 2023”.