Responding to Arctic Shipping Oil Spills: Risks and Challenges

An infographic for The Clean Arctic Alliance

Oil spills from ships in the Arctic are nearly impossible to respond to and clean up. Find out why in this infographic, and what the gaps are in the plans and standards currently in place to regulate oil spill response in Nunavut and Beaufort Sea, Canada.

Oil Spill Response Capacity in Nunavut and the Beaufort Sea

A Summary report by WWF Canada

As the Arctic warms and sea ice diminishes, the biggest threat to the Arctic marine
environment from ships is from an oil spill. Less summer sea ice has already led to
increases in ship traffic, yet significant legislative, capacity, information and funding
gaps exist in the current spill response framework in both Nunavut, and in the
Beaufort region.

Current and projected vessel traffic in the Arctic: Heavy fuel oil use and its alternatives

A Submission paper by the Clean Shipping Coalition, Friends of the Earth International, Pacific Environment, and WWF

The paper highlights recent developments regarding the future of Arctic shipping and the comparative costs of using heavy fuel oil versus alternative fuels.
The preparation of this document was assisted by the International Council on Clean Transportation, Ocean Conservancy, the Environmental Investigation Agency, and the Iceland Nature Conservation Association.

Heavy fuel oil use in Arctic shipping in 2015

A working Paper by the International Council on Clean Transportation (icct)

This paper provides valuable data on the number of ships operating on HFO in the Arctic, the amount of HFO fuel onboard these vessels, and the distance such fuel is carried throughout the Arctic in 2015. It finds that while there are fewer ships operating on HFO than distillate in the IMO Arctic and the U.S. Arctic, the quantity of fuel onboard ships in both areas is dominated by HFO at a ratio of more than 3:1.

Clean Arctic Alliance Position Statement

Position Statement by the Clean Arctic Alliance – HFO-Free Arctic: Ban Heavy Fuel Oil from Arctic Shipping

The use of heavy fuel oil (HFO) by vessels operating in the Arctic poses a major risk to the Arctic marine environment. It produces harmful emissions that negatively impact the global climate, threatens the food security, livelihood and way of life of Arctic communities and produces emissions that impact human health. As the use of HFO is expected to rise as vessel traffic in the Arctic increases, the Clean Arctic Alliance strongly advocates the phasing out of the use of HFO as the most effective mitigation strategy as a matter of priority.

Risks & challenges of Heavy Fuel Oil use in the Arctic

An infographic by the European Climate Foundation

Increased shipping activities and changeable shipping conditions provide the backdrop of this comprehensive and visual representation of the many threats facing the Arctic environment, from heavy fuel oil spill, with catastrophic long-lasting consequences on this remote and vulnerable ecosystem, local indigenous populations’ health and food security to illegal waste sludge dumping. Increased Black Carbon and other air pollutants emissions only accelerate climate change and add to the problem of ice melt.

Proposals for mitigating the risks associated with the use and carriage of HFO by vessels in the Arctic

A submission by the Circumpolar Conservation Union (CUU) and WWF

This submission to the Arctic Council’s Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) working group outlines why phasing out HFO use by the shipping sector in the Arctic is the most effective available mitigation strategy to address the associated risks and provides further recommendations.