Environmental Group Issues Praise for Steps by U.S. and Canada to Phase Down HFO Use in the Arctic

Thursday December 22, 2016

The Clean Arctic Alliance Wednesday welcomed new steps announced by U.S. and Canada to phase down the use of HFO bunkers in the Arctic.

In a statement issued by the Whitehouse Tuesday, the government announced that the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) has already begun a strategy to phase down the use of HFO in the Arctic, while the Canadian Coast Guard is conducting outreach and consultations to develop similar proposals for 2017.

"The Clean Arctic Alliance applauds the commitment of President Obama and Prime Minister Trudeau to develop a concrete proposal to phase down HFO use in the Arctic," said Dr. Sian Prior, Clean Arctic Alliance advisor.

"With ship traffic in the Arctic expected to grow dramatically as Arctic sea ice continues to decline, this announcement demonstrates real regional leadership towards protecting the Arctic from future harm."

Further, the two governments says they are planning to jointly propose a plan to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) at its next meeting, which is set for spring 2017.

"For the sake of the marine environment and the coastal communities and wildlife that depend upon it, it is clear that Arctic shipping cannot continue relying on HFO as fuel," said Prior.

"The Clean Arctic Alliance calls on other IMO member countries to support the initiative taken by the US and Canada, so that the Arctic becomes HFO free."

This is the latest among a series of calls by the Clean Arctic Alliance for IMO members to take action against the use of HFO in Arctic waters.

Following an announcement by IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) in October that a 0.5 percent global sulfur cap on marine fuel be implemented from 2020, the HFO-Free Arctic Campaign called the decision a "massive step" toward the phase out of HFO use by vessels operating in the Arctic.