#IMO assembly: Will transport summit act to guard #Arctic from spills and emissions?


NGOs right now (17 February) referred to as on the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to guard the Arctic marine setting from the impacts of worldwide transport, by agreeing to a brand new regulation banning the use and carriage of heavy gasoline oil (HFO) as gasoline by ships working in Arctic waters throughout this week’s “Arctic IMO Summit” in London.

The week-long (17-21 February) assembly of the International Maritime Organization’s Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR7) – dubbed the IMO Arctic Summit because of the Arctic-related points dominating the agenda – consists of negotiations on measures to cut back dangers of use and carriage of HFO as gasoline by transport in Arctic waters, and on the discount of impacts of black carbon emissions from world transport on the Arctic area [1].

“With the effects of the climate crisis already having significant impacts across the Arctic region and Arctic routes opening up to increasing ship traffic, IMO Member States must strongly support the introduction of a HFO ban this week,” mentioned Dr Sian Prior, Lead Advisor to the Clean Arctic Alliance, a coalition of 18 non-governmental organisations. “We are overdue action and any delays or exemptions to a ban will only prolong the threat of a HFO spill in the Arctic, putting communities, livelihoods and wildlife at risk, an the views of Indigenous groups and individuals must be taken into special consideration while developing the ban”.

Support for an IMO ban on the use and carriage of heavy gasoline oil within the Arctic had beforehand come from quite a lot of international locations, together with six of the eight Arctic states. Canada, which, together with Russia,  had beforehand withheld assist for the HFO ban, has now additionally publicly voiced its assist [2,3].

“Canada’s announcement to support a HFO ban on Arctic shipping is very encouraging news ahead of the tough negotiations at the IMO this week”, mentioned Andrew Dumbrille, Senior Sustainable Shipping Specialist a WWF Canada. “By becoming the 7th of eight Arctic nations to back the ban, Canada is showing vision and leadership in creating a pathway for cleaner shipping in the Arctic – but it must now ensure that it does not put any obstacle in the way of putting the HFO ban in place as soon as possible.”

“Canada is to be commended for working towards protecting the Arctic marine environment and ensuring communities have access to a clean ocean for food and culture – but the federal government now has the obligation to ensure any potential costs associated with banning HFO don’t impact people in Northern communities,” added Dumbrille.

“The IMO must not entertain any arguments calling for a delay in the implementation of an Arctic ban on HFO”, mentioned Dr 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 [4]. IMO Member States, in particular Arctic governments, must cooperate on the delivery of a ban as quickly as possible.”

Already banned in Antarctic waters, if HFO is spilled in chilly polar waters, it breaks down slowly, proving almost not possible to scrub up. A HFO spill would have long-term devastating results on Arctic indigenous communities, livelihoods and the marine ecosystems they depend on.

Black carbon , a dangerous air pollutant, is the product of incomplete combustion of natural fuels, and contributes from 7-21% of transport’s local weather warming affect [5]. The largest sources of BC are fossil gasoline, biomass and biofuel combustion. Ships emit extra BC per unit of gasoline consumed than different combustion sources because of the high quality of the gasoline used. BC has human well being impacts and is a potent local weather forcer. When emitted within the Arctic, Black Carbon particles fall on snow, on glacier ice and sea ice, lowering their reflectivity (albedo) and rising the absorption of warmth. As multi-season sea ice recedes as a consequence of local weather change, Arctic waters will divulge heart’s contents to elevated transport – which might result in elevated Black Carbon emissions, fueling an already accelerating suggestions loop.

During PPR 7, the Clean Arctic Alliance will reiterate its request for the IMO to urgently require all ships working within the Arctic to modify to distillate fuels, in an effort to considerably cut back black carbon emissions and contribute to assembly bold targets set by the Arctic Council to cut back black carbon emissions [6]. Recent revelations suggesting that using some new low sulphur gasoline oils with a excessive fragrant content material, launched to fulfill the IMO’s 2020 sulphur cap, might enhance black carbon emissions, add to the urgency of such a swap. Switching to distillate fuels within the Arctic and using a diesel particulate filter will result in black carbon reductions of over 99%. The Alliance is additional requesting that the IMO assist the event of a world rule prohibiting fuels with excessive black carbon emissions [7,8].

Until new rules could be developed and enter into pressure, the Clean Arctic Alliance is proposing that IMO Member States agree a Resolution at MEPC 75 (March 31- April third) calling on ship house owners, charterers, gasoline suppliers and different stakeholders to implement a swap to distillate within the Arctic on a voluntary foundation.



Dave Walsh, Clean Arctic Alliance Communications Advisor, dave.walsh@hfofreearctic.org +34 691 826 764

Side Events

See under for checklist of official occasions, or go to the IMO Arctic Summit web site

Infographics: sit the IMO Arctic Summit web site for full set of Infographics on Arctic transport, heavy gasoline oil and black carbon:


[1] IMO Papers on Heavy Fuel Oil and Black Carbon – Submitted by NGOs and people within the Public Domain


PPR 7/14/4Draft language for a ban of use and carriage of heavy gasoline oil as gasoline by ships in Arctic Waters (Denmark et al.)

PPR 7/14/16 Comments on doc PPR 7/14/4, “Draft language for a ban of use and carriage of heavy fuel oil as fuel by ships in Arctic waters” (NGOs)

PPR 7-14-1 – Arctic Indigenous Support for the Ban of Heavy Fuel Oil within the Arctic (pdf). (NGOs)

PPR 7/8: Initial outcomes of a Black Carbon measurement marketing campaign with emphasis on the affect of the gasoline oil high quality on Black Carbon emission

PPR 7/8/2: PPR7 Submission: The want for pressing motion to cease using blended low sulphur residual fuels resulting in will increase in ship-source Black Carbon globally

[2] 13 February 2020: Radio Canada International, Canada plans to assist ban on heavy gasoline oil in Arctic transport


[3] In July 2017, the International Maritime Organization’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 71), agreed to embark on a physique of labor aimed toward mitigating the dangers of HFO. This move was welcomed by the Clean Arctic Alliance, a coalition of non-profit organisations calling for a ban on the use and carriage of HFO as gasoline within the Arctic – as the best and handiest option to mitigate its results.

At MEPC 72 in April 2018, a strongly-worded proposal to ban HFO as transport gasoline from Arctic waters was co-sponsored by Finland, Germany, Iceland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the US. The proposal for a ban, together with a proposal to evaluate the affect of such a ban on Arctic communities from Canada, was supported by Australia, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Ireland, Japan, the League of Arab States, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK.

At MEPC 73 in October 2018, assist got here from Austria, Bangladesh, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Poland and the UK, for the proposal for a ban to be despatched to a Pollution Prevention and Response subcommittee (PPR 6, February 18-22, 2018), for growth, together with a draft affect evaluation methodology for assessing the affect of a HFO ban on Arctic ecosystems, Indigenous native communities and economies to be finalised. Work commenced on defining what sorts of gasoline will likely be banned and the way they are going to be banned.

Although work on measures to cut back the dangers of use and carriage of heavy gasoline oil (HFO) as gasoline by ships in Arctic waters was not a significant focus for MEPC 74 in May 2019, a call was made at this assembly to increase the work to 2020. Black carbon, which is emitted into the Arctic setting when HFO is burned in Arctic waters, was on the agenda, however because the assembly closed, the Clean Arctic Alliance expressed frustration over Members States’ failure to deal with the chance to the Arctic from emissions of black carbon from worldwide transport, as the problem was despatched to PPR 7 for additional work.

[4] Comer, B., 2019. Heavy Fuel Oil and Black Carbon within the Arctic, 2015 to 2017. Presentation to PPR 6, London, February 2019. https://theicct.org/weblog/employees/imo-agrees-we-can-control-black-carbon-emissions-ships-will-we

[5] International Council on Clean Transportation, Greenhouse fuel emissions from world transport, 2013–2015


IMO Submission: Consideration Of The Impact On The Arctic Of Emissions Of Black Carbon From International Shipping: Greenhouse fuel emissions from world transport 2013-2015


[6] Arctic Council Expert Group On Black Carbon and Methane Summary Of Progress and Recommendations 2017

https://oaarchive.arctic-council.org/bitstream/deal with/11374/1936/EDOCS-4319-v1-ACMMUS10_FAIRBANKS_2017_EGBCM-report-complete-with-covers-and-colophon-letter-size.pdf?sequence=5&isAllowed=y

[7] In January 2020, after a paper submitted by German and Finland to PPR 7 in November 2019 revealed that the brand new blended low sulphur transport fuels (VLSFO) developed and marketed by oil corporations to adjust to IMO 2020 air air pollution requirements might result in a surge within the emissions of a Super Pollutant generally known as Black Carbon, the Clean Arctic Alliance referred to as or the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to assist a direct swap to distillate fuels for ships within the Arctic and develop a world rule prohibiting fuels with excessive Black Carbon emissions.

In response, Clean Arctic Alliance wrote a letter containing the next inquiries to representatives of the marine gasoline business who ready the definitive steerage on the availability and use of 0.5% sulphur marine gasoline solely months in the past, to ask:

  • Were you conscious that these new low sulphur heavy gasoline blends had larger fragrant content material?
  • Were you conscious of the hyperlink between larger fragrant content material in fuels and better BC emissions?
  • If the reply to the above questions is “yes”, then why did you not instantly search to halt the manufacturing of those fuels and alert the IMO?

The letter was despatched to IACS, IBIA, IPIECA, IMarEST, IUMI, OCIMF, and the Royal Institute of Naval Architects – all of whom have consultative standing to the IMO. The letter was additionally despatched to ARA, Concawe, CIMAC and JPEC. All of the organisations are named as co-authors of the Joint Industry Guidance on “The supply and use of 0.50%-sulphur marine fuel” printed in August 2019. The business responded, prompting the Clean Arctic Alliance to subject an extra letter on February 10, 2020.

[8] PPR 5/INF.7 An replace to the investigation of applicable management measures (abatement applied sciences) to cut back Black Carbon emissions from worldwide transport. Submitted by Canada, 29 November 2017.


IMO Arctic Summit Side Events

Monday 17 February

Benefits and Impacts of an Arctic HFO Ban – Case research of the Canadian Mining Sector

13:20 – 13:50, Main Hall – floor ground, IMO

IMAVUT Evening Reception – Inuit Circumpolar Council

Time: 17:45 – 20:00, Delegates Lounge

Tuesday 18 February

Impacto del carbono negro y de los combustibles pesados en el Ártico (y más allá)

Breakfast – Spanish occasion

Time: 08:00 – 09:15 (se ofrece desayuno), Committee Room 14, IMO


Arctic Community Perspectives on the Effects of International Shipping

13:20 – 13:50 Main Hall – floor ground, IMO

Wednesday 19 February

Shipping, Climate and the Arctic.

Time: 13:20 – 13:50 Main Hall – floor ground, IMO

More info on occasions right here:


About the Clean Arctic Alliance

The following not-for-profit organisations kind the Clean Arctic Alliance, which is dedicated to a ban on HFO as marine gasoline within the Arctic:

Alaska Wilderness League, Bellona, Clean Air Task Force, Green Transition Denmark, Ecology and Development Foundation ECODES, Environmental Investigation Agency, European Climate Foundation, Friends of the Earth US, Greenpeace, Iceland Nature Conservation Association, Nature And Biodiversity Conservation Union, Ocean Conservancy, Pacific Environment, Seas At Risk, Surfrider Foundation Europe, Stand.Earth, Transport & Environment and WWF.

More extra info go to https://www.hfofreearctic.org/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CleanArctic