Responding to the latest figures from the Russian Federal Agency for Maritime and River Transport regarding a record volume of 9,737 million tons of goods shipped on the Northern Sea Route during 2017, Dr Sian Prior, lead advisor to the Clean Arctic Alliance, said: “The reduced sea ice extent is already attracting more shipping into Arctic waters, in a search for shorter routes and cost savings, a trend that will continue for the foreseeable future . Not only is traffic expanding along the Arctic’s northern sea route, but also along the north-west passage to the north of Canada and the US, and even across the central Arctic Ocean. This growth in traffic brings an increased risk of oil spills, and greater emissions of black carbon, which exacerbates the melting of sea ice. With the next meeting of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee coming up in April, we’re calling on member states to back a ban on the use of heavy fuel oil – the dirtiest from shipping fuels – from vessels operating in Arctic waters.”
Currently the majority of fuel used to transport goods in the Arctic is HFO, which has negative impacts on the Arctic due to emissions of black carbon and also presents a significant spill risk.
With shipping in the region set to increase further, the Clean Arctic Alliance calls for a ban on the use and carriage of HFO as ship fuel in the Arctic. The IMO must proceed to put this ban in place.
Source: Maritime Shipping News