Clean Arctic Alliance Calls for Renewing Commitment to HFO Ban

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

October 22, 2018

Pic: HFO-Free Arctic

Pic: HFO-Free Arctic

Clean Arctic Alliance called on member states to “renew their commitment” so that a ban on the use and carriage of polluting heavy fuel oil (HFO) from Arctic shipping can be adopted in 2021 as  the International Maritime Organization (IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 73) gathered yesterday (October 22) in London.

“IMO member states must be resolute in ensuring that the Arctic ban on heavy fuel oil is developed by 2020, and adopted  in 2021, to protect Arctic ecosystems and communities from both the threat of oil spills and the impact of black carbon emissions”, said Dr Sian Prior, lead advisor to the Clean Arctic Alliance, a coalition of 18 non-governmental organisations working to end HFO use as marine fuel in Arctic waters.

“Discussions regarding impact assessments at MEPC73 must support, but not hinder progression towards the ban.  In addition, IMO member states have a duty to ensure that Arctic communities are not forced to carry any economic costs associated with a ban on the use and carriage of heavy fuel oil,” Prior added.

The strongly-worded MEPC72 proposal to ban HFO as shipping fuel from Arctic waters was co-sponsored by Finland, Germany, Iceland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the US.

The EU has continued to offer support for a HFO ban, including as part of an EU Parliament resolution in the context of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Canada and Russia have also both supported IMO work to consider ways to mitigate the risks associated with HFO, but Canada has yet to take a position on a ban.

Recent analysis by CE DELFT of the potential impact of a HFO ban on consumer goods found that additional costs of food shipped to Iqaluit in Northern Canada would increase household expenditure by 0.2%, assuming that the ban-related additional transport costs are fully passed on (although other newly published research has shown that there was no correlation between fuel costs and food prices in the same region between 2014 – 2017).

“The world is moving ahead with a ban on use and carriage of heavy fuel oil. By committing now to banning the world’s most hazardous and polluting ship fuel from the Arctic, the Canadian government could provide certainty to Canadian businesses, and ensure communities are ready, and industry remains competitive”, said Andrew Dumbrille, Senior Specialist, Sustainable Shipping at WWF Canada.

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