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Clean Arctic Alliance welcomes Canada’s backing of heavy fuel oil ban

20 Feb 2020

Clean Arctic Alliance, a coalition made of non-profit organisations (NGO), on Tuesday (18 February) responded to a press release from the Government of Canada in support of the proposed ban on heavy fuel oil (HFO) in Arctic waters. 

“Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, announced the Government of Canada’s support for a ban on heavy fuel oil in Arctic waters,” stated in the press release. 

“The Clean Arctic Alliance welcomes Canada’s support for a ban on the use and carriage of heavy fuel oil in Arctic waters, however we believe the International Maritime Organization must not entertain any arguments calling for a delay or exemptions in the implementation of an Arctic ban on HFO,” said Clean Arctic Alliance Lead Advisor Dr Sian Prior.

“The use and carriage of HFO in the Arctic is increasing, with a 46% increase in the volume of HFO fuel carried by ships in the Arctic between 2015 and 2017, and a 57% increase in the amount of HFO used – and this will only increase the risks of HFO spills and impacts from black carbon in the region.”

Dr Sian Prior urges IMO Member States, in particular Arctic governments, to cooperate on the delivery of a ban as quickly as possible.

The Canadian Government press release stated that its ministers announced they will be seeking a phased-in approach to the ban as Canada discusses with IMO countries ways to help balance the environmental benefits with the economic realities of northern, Indigenous and Inuit communities.

“Canada is to be commended for working towards protecting the Arctic marine environment while will ensure communities have access to a clean ocean for food and culture – but given the threats from using heavy fuel oil, there should be no delay to the introduction of a ban,” said WWF Canada Senior Sustainable Shipping Specialist Andrew Dumbrille.

“The Canadian government must support implementing a ban without delay, and immediately shoulder any potential costs associated with switching away HFO so that people in Northern communities are not impacted.”

The Clean Arctic Alliance is currently attending the IMO’s PPR7 (Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response) in London, where several issues regarding the Arctic, including the banning of heavy fuel oil, are on the agenda.

Further reading of WWF Canada’s proposed ban on HFO in Arctic waters: 

Phasing Out the Use and Carriage for Use of Heavy Fuel Oil in the Canadian Arctic: Impacts to Northern Communities – Nuka Research and Planning Group for WWF, 2018

Related: Stand.earth highlights debate on ship scrubbers in this week’s ‘IMO Arctic Summit’
Related: IMO PPR committee to finalise verification guidelines for fuel oil carriage ban
Related: Clean Arctic Alliance: Will London shipping summit act to protect Arctic from spills and emissions?
Related: Argus Media: Open-loop scrubber ban ‘unlikely in 2020’, says IMO
Related: IBIA: Facts and fears in the open loop scrubber debate

Photo credit: International Maritime Organization
Published: 20 February, 2020

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