MECP To Consider Arctic Ban on HFO

HFO has been banned in Antarctica since August 2011.

A ban on heavy fuel oil (HFO) in the Arctic will be among the subjects to be discussed at the upcoming 72nd session of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) which will take place in London in early April. HFO has already been banned in Antarctica since August 2011.

According to the Clean Arctic Alliance organization, which cited Radio Canada International, Finland has submitted a plan to the MEPC to ban the use and carriage of HFO by ships in Arctic waters by 2021. The proposal is co-sponsored by Germany, Iceland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the United States.

Canada, however, is reportedly wanting a slower phase in of a ban, according to the Clean Arctic Alliance. The reason is said to be adverse economic impact of increased shipping costs on northern indigenous communities that depend on maritime transportation for most of their supplies.

At the same time, indigenous people also depend on clean waters for their livelihood, health and food security.

Switching to alternative fuels is described as a costly proposition, adding to the cost of transportation for the Arctic communities.

However, according to the International Council on Clean Transportation, the alliance said that if there is a leak, HFO remains in the ocean after 20 days, while marine diesel can break down in as little as three days.

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