Call for Arctic HFO Ban at MEPC 69

Monday April 18, 2016

Environmental group Pacific Environment is calling on the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to put a ban on HFO use in the Arctic as part of this week's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) meeting.

"In 2010, the IMO adopted a ban of heavy fuel oil in Antarctic waters which takes full effect this year. But, heavy fuel oil has yet to be regulated in arctic waters," the group said in an emailed statement.

"Prohibiting the use of heavy fuel oil by shipping in the Arctic will produce a number of significant environmental and social benefits.  These include reducing black carbon emissions that could severely impact arctic climate. As well, risks will be reduced to the security of indigenous peoples who depend for food on marine resources vulnerable to oil spills."

Earlier this year Pacific Environment also pressed the Arctic Council to implement a HFO ban, and now says the Arctic Council has identified a heavy fuel oil spill as "the top risk posed by increased vessel traffic."

MEPC 69 is set to debate a number of key issues for shipping, not least of which being calls to address emissions from shipping following its omission from the COP21 climate deal.