Heavy fuel oil: seen as a threat to Arctic waters (file image/pixabay)
Although in favour of an outright ban, environmentalists seeking to protect the Arctic sea areas from maritime pollution have welcomed the International Maritime Organisation's (IMO) global 0.5% global sulfur cap on marine fuel.
"The Clean Arctic Alliance (CAA) welcomes the 2020 sulphur ban, which should drive a switch away from the use of heavy fuel oil (HFO) towards lighter alternatives, and result in less black carbon released in the Arctic environment," said Sian Prior lead advisor at CAA.
"However, while the sulphur cap will reduce the amount of heavy fuel oil being used anywhere, including in the Arctic, it will not eliminate it completely.
"We're calling on the IMO to make progress towards a ban on HFO at this April's MEPC meeting, to protect the Arctic from the world's dirtiest fuel," Prior said.
Pollution Prevention Response (PPP) is an IMO sub-committee that makes recommendations to the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) which is next meeting in London in April.
At last week's IMO PPR meeting in London, a reporting protocol was agreed for voluntary studies to collect black carbon data and on the best black carbon measurement methods for data collection.
But the CAA said it was "disappointed with the lack of commitment to start discussions of measures for dealing with black carbon impacts on the Arctic during PPR5 [the meeting]".
The CAA added: "That said, exploring the issue intersessionally should allow member states to consider the various abatement measures on the table, and hopefully rule out those that are neither appropriate or feasible."