IMO: Heavy Fuel Oil Banned For Arctic Shipping From July 1, 2024

- Feb 28, 2020-

           Last Friday (February 21), IMO held the seventh session of the Subcommittee on pollution prevention and response in the Arctic region (ppr7), and adopted a draft regulation on "prohibiting the use of heavy fuel oil (HFO) in Arctic shipping from July 1, 2024".            It is reported that the draft will be finally considered and approved at the IMO empc 76 meeting held this autumn.            In response to the "oil ban" on Arctic shipping, several exceptions to the exemption were proposed, that is, to allow non-compliance with the ban:            First, rescue ships engaged in search and rescue or handling oil spill accidents can be exempted;            Second, countries and regions that do not have other railways and roads to support domestic logistics and transportation, such as Russia, IMO, for example, proposed that Russian ships sailing between the ports of Murmansk and Tiksi would be exempted.            Most sea voyages in the Arctic are conducted in Russian waters, so the ban will make Russia bear more economic losses than other Arctic coastal countries. As a country in the Far East, there is almost no road or railway connection in other parts of the country. Every year, along the North sea route of Russia, there are a series of domestic routes called "northern supply" to transport goods to coastal cities and enterprises.            Therefore, at the meeting, the Russian delegation expressed more concern about the economic burden caused by the ban on the use of HFO. The Russian side said that the ban has more impact on the life and economic operation of countries and regions along the Arctic coast. If the transportation cost increases, they will have to pay more for their goods.            HFO is cheap, but at the cost of environmental pollution, especially in cold waters such as the Arctic, HFO is difficult to decompose, and any leakage may damage the ecological environment of the region.            In addition, HFO's black carbon emissions are higher than any other transport fuel. When burned, it will discharge soot particles into the air. Similarly, these have a particularly negative impact on the Arctic climate, especially in winter. When the black dust covers the sea ice and snow, it will reduce its reflectivity or albedo, and then accelerate the warming trend.            In order to mitigate these negative impacts, environmental organizations led by the clean transport alliance and WWF have been exerting pressure on IMO for many years to ban the use of HfO when ships are sailing in the Arctic.            However, the final adoption of the draft regulation on "Prohibition of the use of heavy fuel oil (HFO) in Arctic shipping from July 1, 2024" remains to be considered and approved at the IMO empc 76 meeting this autumn.