EIA Calls for 10-Year Moratorium on Arctic Shipping

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Monday October 27, 2014

UK-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) is advocating a 10-year moratorium on Arctic shipping, IHS Maritime 360 reports.

The NGO said last week in a report that it believed it would take those 10 years for the Polar Code to become finalised and come into effect. 

"The suggested time frame of being 'in force' by way of national legislation and full and rigorous implementation [any earlier] seems optimistic," said senior policy analyst and co-founder of EIA Allan Thornton.

The proposed code would place environmental protections in both the Arctic and Antarctic regions in an attempt to prevent pollution.  

Until legislation such as the Polar Code is in place, according to Thornton, "precautionary policies" needed to be increased.

The EIA said that it worried in particular about the effects of shipping on wildlife, as antifouling paints on ship hulls often contains chemicals that are toxic to mammals, while polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), mercury and carcinogens from heavy fuel oil can cause internal lesions in animals. 

The organization also fears oil spills and underwater seismic testing, both of which have deeply affected wildlife populations in the past. 

Meanwhile, the Polar Code still faces criticism for not being stringent enough, with environmental organization Friends of the Earth (FOE) having previously stated that the code is "modest at best."

The code was approved by the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 67) earlier this week.