NGOs pushing for ban on heavy fuel oil use in Arctic (file image/pixabay)
Environmentalists in the Clean Arctic Alliance grouping are hoping International Maritime Organisation (IMO) member states will renew their commitment to ban the use and carriage of heavy fuel oil by shipping in Arctic waters.
A ban was agreed in principle earlier this year by the IMO marine environment protection committee which meets in London this week (MEPC73).
"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," the Clean Arctic Alliance's lead advisor Dr Sian Prior said.
"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," the advisor said.
The Clean Arctic Alliance comprises comprises 18 non-governmental organisations including Brussels-based Transport and Environment, Seas at Risk and World Wildlife Fund.
The receding Arctic ice sheet is making the northwest passage economically viable for commercial shipping.