Heavy fuel oil use by vessels in Arctic waters

A submission by FOEI, WWF, Pacific Environment and CSC

This submission to the 69th session of the IMO MEPC (Marine Environmental Protection Committee) highlights the concerns of the co-sponsors regarding the use of heavy fuel oil (HFO) use in the Arctic. HFO poses a significant hazard to the Arctic marine environment, including to wildlife and coastal communities, through the risk of spills that would be difficult if not impossible to clean up. The Burning HFO also produces harmful emissions.

Heavy fuel oil use by vessels in Arctic waters

A submission by FOEI, WWF, Pacific Environment and CSC

This submission to the 70th session of the IMO MEPC (Marine Environmental Protection Committee) presents the co-sponsors’ concerns about the continued use of heavy fuel oil (HFO) in the Arctic and highlights a number of recent developments aimed at reducing the risks associated with HFO use in Arctic waters.

Ecological, economic and social costs of marine/coastal spills of fuel oils (refinery residuals)

A report by Tim Deere-Jones

The growing demands for shorter, quicker and less expensive sea routes around the northern hemisphere coupled with Arctic warming is generating a significant increase in vessel traffic through Arctic waters. This report offers a brief review of the behaviour and fate of both heavy fuel oil (HFO) and medium fuel oil (MFO) spills in polar, sub-polar and similar cold water marine environments. It also offers a brief review of the impacts of such spills and the relative “costing” of some of the impact parameters of such spills.

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.

Arctic Council and HFO use in Arctic shipping

A letter by Seas at Risk and Transport Environment

This letter addressed to EU officials Federica Mogherini, Karmenu Vella, Martin Schulz, Elmar Brok and Giovanni La Via outlines key asks regarding the discussion of heavy fuel oil use by shipping in the Arctic ahead of the Arctic Council’s Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) Working Group, stressing the urgency for action.

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.

Arctic fuel switching impact study

A report by VARD Marine Inc. for WWF Canada

The aim of this study is to provide an objective assessment of the likely cost impact of fuel switching from residual fuel oils to low sulphur fuels. It presents an analysis of the economic impact of introducing more stringent air emission controls in the Canadian Arctic to align with North American Emission Control Area (ECA) south of 60°N where low sulphur emissions are now a requirement.

Heavy Fuel Oil: A priority threat to Arctic cetaceans

A Briefing by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA)

The biggest threat to beluga whale and other cetaceans populations from increased shipping activities in the Arctic is the risk of a major HFO heavy fuel oil spill and its harmful long-lasting consequences on the whole ecosystem. The EIA makes recommendations to the to the 66th meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) on the need for cooperation work on oil spill response plans and making the issue of HFO a priority.

Arctic indigenous food security and shipping

Submission paper by FOEI, WWF and Pacific Environment to the IMO

Food security for many coastal Arctic indigenous communities is inextricably tied to the bounty of the sea. This paper highlights threats to that food security in light of increased Arctic shipping activities and all its associated impacts: oil and chemical spills; marine mammal strikes and disturbance; food waste disposal; invasive species introduction from ballast water discharges and hull fouling; wastewater effluent; and air emissions, including black carbon and air toxins.