Norway announced the ban of HFO, highlighting that heavy oil spills greatly damage the Arctic environment due to the vulnerable ecosystems and how heavy oil behaves at low temperatures and ice.
If such oil is released in the event of an accident on Svalbard, it could lead to major and long-term damage to the environment.
It is stated that the Ministry of Climate and the Environment is sending the proposal for public consultation.
In addition, Clean Arctic Alliance Lead Advisor Dr Sian Prior stated
We welcome this important commitment by Norway to protect the waters around Svalbard from the risks of heavy fuel oil (HFO) spills, and its glaciers and sea ice from the impacts of black carbon emissions caused by the burning of HFO.
He added that Norway leads the way amongst Arctic nations in getting rid of HFO from Arctic waters, and is demonstrating international leadership by going above and beyond the weak ambitions of Arctic HFO ban currently being considered by the International Maritime Organization.
Concluding, on Wednesday, 18 November, the International Maritime Organization’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 75) is set to approve the draft Arctic HFO regulation.
In response to the inherent weakness of this draft ban, the Clean Arctic Alliance is calling for IMO Arctic Member States to mirror Norway’s leadership, and to strengthen and improve the draft Arctic HFO regulation by removing or amending the exemption and the waiver clauses, and by bringing forward the implementation dates. Failure to do so will result in the approval of a ‘paper ban’ on the use and carriage of heavy fuel oil – devoid of any meaningful protection for the Arctic,
… concluded Dr. Prior.