The Clean Arctic Alliance (CAA) has called for German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Nordic Prime Ministers to support a ban on the use of heavy fuel oil (HFO) in the Arctic.
In a statement, the CAA described HFO as the “dirtiest form of fuel” used by ships in the Arctic and said it is “virtually impossible” to clear in the event of a spill.
Dr Sian Prior, the CAA’s Lead Advisor, and Arni Finnsson from the Iceland Nature Conservation Association, appealed to the Prime Ministers of all Nordic states and Merkel to support the ban on HFO ahead of their summit on August 20, 2019.
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“We urgently need a strong commitment from the Nordic Prime Ministers and Ms Merkel to ban the use and carriage of heavy fuel oil or HFO in the Arctic,” Prior said.
“This is an essential and easy first step to contribute to reducing the warming we are currently experiencing in the Arctic, and to remove the risk of devastating HFO spills.
“Better protection for the Arctic against the impact of increasing shipping and other developments in the region is essential for the future of the Arctic ecosystem, and the communities and wildlife which depend on the clean snow and ice habitats”.
Finnsson added to Prior’s comments: “This summer we have measured the emissions from cruise ships in Iceland and shown how polluting the burning of HFO can be.
“We need to ban HFO use and carriage in the Arctic and extend the ban to cover all of Iceland’s waters to protect our own ecosystems and the health of our people.”
PTI has previously reported on the CAA’s efforts to ban HFO in the Arctic. In February 2019 it urged the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to retain its policy of banning HFO in the Arctic.
A few weeks later it stepped up its campaign and appealed for Russia and Canada, the two biggest countries in the Arctic, to support it.
Russia is the biggest country in the region and dominates the so-called Northern Sea Route (NSR), on which PTI published an exclusive insight in late 2018.