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Tuesday, February 19, 2019 

The Clean Arctic Alliance has called on IMO Member States to remain focused to the goal of developing a ban on the use and carriage of heavy fuel oil by shipping in the Arctic.

Speaking as the IMO Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR 6) met this week in London, Dr Sian Prior, Lead Advisor to the Clean Arctic Alliance, said:  “While IMO delegates gather to discuss ways to mitigate the impacts of heavy fuel oil (HFO) – the dirtiest of ships’ fuels – on Arctic ecosystems, IMO member states must keep their sights firmly on the need for a ban, especially in light of recent revelations from the IPCC on the urgent need to limiting the effects of climate change on the Arctic region.”

Commenting on how the Arctic is warming faster than anywhere else on earth , Prior said that an increase in HFO-fuelled shipping will exacerbate the climate crisis “By banning both the use and carriage of HFO as fuel from ships operating in Arctic waters, the risks of a catastrophic oil spill can also be avoided, she said.

The Clean Arctic Alliance calls for the ban on the use of HFO in the Arctic to be concluded swiftly, so that it can be adopted in 2021, and phased in by 2023.

At October’s IMO gathering of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 73), support for the work – to mitigate the risks of using and carrying HFO in the Arctic, including developing a ban – to commence at the PPR 6 technical meeting, was voiced by Austria, Bangladesh, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Poland, the United States and the UK.

At MEPC 73, IMO member states considered impact assessment methodology, before deciding to send the “Scope of Work”- which sets out the work to be done to reduce the risks associated with the “use and carriage of heavy fuel oil as fuel by ships in Arctic waters”, including the proposal for a HFO ban, to this week’s PPR 6 meeting.

The work on impact assessment methodology was however, not completed, and the Clean Arctic Alliance hopes that finalising guidance on impact assessment methodology does not delay the development of the ban on the use and carriage of HFO.

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