The International Maritime Organiation (IMO) has agreed to take steps toward a ban on the use of heavy fuel oil in Arctic shipping, following an appeal from the Canadian government, indigenous participants and testimony from WWF-Canada.
The non-profit wildlife conservation organisation WWF-Canada highlighted to the IMO recent reports outlining major gaps in spill response capacity in the Arctic, and urged the regulatory body to stop heavy fuel oil usage in the Arctic by 2020.
Andrew Dumbrille, senior specialist, sustainable shipping for WWF-Canada, said, “As ship traffic increases in the Arctic, the risk of an environmentally devastating spill becomes more and more real. We have an opportunity now to end the use of this toxic substance while levels of ship traffic are still relatively low. In order to give industry time to adapt, WWF encourages the IMO to continue moving this agenda forward, and phase out the use of HFO in Arctic shipping by 2020.”
The Canadian delegation’s submission on how to reduce the impacts of heavy fuel oil in the Arctic received support from all Arctic states (US, Russia, Finland, Norway, Iceland, Sweden, and Denmark/Greenland) as well as several non-Arctic states.
The dirty and destructive properties of the bunker fuel have already led to bans in both the Antarctic, and in Norwegian Arctic waters.
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