Clean Arctic Alliance Welcomes Russian-Finnish statement on Cleaner Arctic Shipping Fuel

HFO Free Arctic

Clean Arctic Alliance Welcomes Russian-Finnish statement on Cleaner Arctic Shipping Fuel

Moscow, 24 August 2018:- The Clean Arctic Alliance welcomes the joint statement by  Russian President Vladimir Putin and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto on the need to move to cleaner ships’ fuels such as LNG in the Arctic.

Speaking on behalf of the Clean Arctic Alliance, Alexey Knizhnikov of WWF Russia said that “the risks of using heavy fuel oil in the Arctic are too high, and we welcome President Putin and President Niinisto’s vision and leadership in seeking to move to cleaner fuels for Arctic shipping. We should now expect that the Russian Federation’s position on the HFO issue will be adjusted in line with President Putin’s statement, and we hope to see these change in place at the International Maritime Organization’s MEPC73 meeting this October in London”.

  • The greatest volume of shipping fuel used in the Arctic is heavy fuel oil – the dirtiest of ships’ fuels
  • The use and carriage as fuel of HFO by ships in the Arctic poses two threats – first that of HFO spills, which are virtually impossible to clean up because of the high viscosity. Plus a spill in a remote Arctic location will lack oil spill capacity and facilities to respond to a spill. Secondly through the emission of black carbon in the exhaust from ships’ engines when it is burnt. The black carbon absorb heats and settles onto snow and ice, speeding up the rate of melting. This week it was reported that Arctic’s strongest sea ice has broken up twice this year, for the first time on record
  • In April 2018, a meeting of International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC72) agreed to move forward on consideration of a Arctic ban on heavy fuel oil. The meeting directed a sub-committee (PPR6) – which will meet in early 2019 –  to develop a ban on heavy fuel oil use and carriage for use by ships in the Arctic, “on the basis of an assessment of the impacts” and “on an appropriate timescale”.
  • The Marine Environment Protection Committee meets in London this October for MEPC73.
  • To date, Russia has not supported a ban on HFO use and carriage as fuel by ships in Arctic waters. Russia has seen a ban on the use and carriage of HFO as fuel as a last resort and prefers to explore other mitigation options. The Clean Arctic Alliance, is campaigning for a ban on HFO use and carriage as fuel in the Arctic, and notes  that a Russian state-owned shipping company Sovcomflot has already spoken openly about the need to move away from oil-based fuels, and marine bunker fuel supplier Gazpromneft expects to halt fuel oil use from 2025.

ENDS

Contact

 

Dave Walsh, Communications Advisor, HFO-Free Arctic Campaign, Dave.Walsh@HFOFreeArctic.org, +34 691 826 764

Alexey Knizhnikov, Oil & Gas Programme Leader, WWF Russia, aknizhnikov@wwf.ru, ‭+7 (910) 428-05-14‬

Elena Agarkova, Senior Program Officer for Shipping, WWF-US Arctic Program, elena.agarkova@wwfus.org, +1 917 716-7132

Sian Prior, Lead Advisor, HFO-Free Arctic Campaign, Sian.Prior@HFOFreeArctic.org, +‭44 7785 747945‬

 

About Heavy Fuel Oil

Heavy fuel oil is a dirty and polluting fossil fuel that powers ships throughout our seas and oceans – accounting for 80% of marine fuel used worldwide. Climate change is fuelling high winter temperatures and driving sea ice melt, opening up Arctic waters to shipping. As the sea ice recedes, larger, non-Arctic state-flagged vessels running on HFO are likely to divert to Arctic waters in search of shorter journey times. This, combined with an increase in Arctic state-flagged vessels targeting previously non-accessible resources, will greatly increase the risks of HFO spills.

Around 75% of marine fuel currently carried in the Arctic is HFO; over half by vessels flagged to non-Arctic states – countries that have little if any connection to the Arctic (See also: Five briefing papers on the use of heavy fuel oil in the Arctic).

Already banned in Antarctic waters, if HFO is spilled in cold polar waters, it breaks down slowly, proving almost impossible to clean up. A HFO spill would have long-term devastating effects on Arctic indigenous communities, livelihoods and the marine ecosystems they depend upon. HFO is also a greater source of harmful emissions of air pollutants, such as sulphur oxide, and particulate matter, including black carbon, than alternative fuels such as distillate fuel and liquefied natural gas (LNG). When emitted and deposited on Arctic snow or ice, the climate warming effect of black carbon is up to five times more than when emitted at lower latitudes, such as in the tropics.

In April 2018, the IMO agreed to move forward on developing a ban on heavy fuel oil from Arctic waters.

Plans to develop a ban on heavy fuel oil (HFO) from Arctic shipping, along with an assessment of the impact of such a ban, were agreed upon during the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC72). The meeting directed a sub-committee (PPR6) to develop a ban on heavy fuel oil use and carriage for use by ships in the Arctic, “on the basis of an assessment of the impacts” and “on an appropriate timescale”

This followed agreement  in July 2017 for MEPC to consider “development of measures to reduce risks of use and carriage of heavy fuel oil as fuel by ships in Arctic waters”. The Clean Arctic Alliance also welcomed this move, stating that a ban on the use and carriage as fuel by ships operating in the Arctic is the simplest and most effective way to mitigate the effects of HFO.

Further reading on HFO and Black Carbon

See also: Five briefing papers on the use of heavy fuel oil in the Arctic, prepared by Bryan Comer PhD, The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), for the Clean Arctic Alliance. These papers look at HFO use by flag state, by ship type, by shipowner, and looks in more depth at HFO use by cruise ships and by fishing vessels in the IMO Polar Code Arctic, 2015.

Danish Eco Council Report Cleaner Shipping: Focus on air pollution, technical solutions and regulation

More Clean Arctic Alliance publications on heavy fuel oil in the Arctic can be downloaded hereplus some useful infographics, and our Frequently Asked Questions can be found here.

 

The Arctic Commitment

Launched at the Arctic Frontiers conference in January 2017 by the Clean Arctic Alliance – a coalition of non-governmental organisations – and expedition cruise ship operator Hurtigruten, the Arctic Commitment aims to protect Arctic communities and ecosystems from the risks posed by the use of heavy fuel oil, and calls on the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to ban its use and carriage as marine fuel by Arctic shipping. An HFO ban has already been in place in Antarctic waters, since 2011. In July 2017, the Clean Arctic Alliance welcomed action being taken by IMO member states to start work to identify measures to mitigate the risks of HFO spills, during the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee meeting (MEPC71).

About the Clean Arctic Alliance

The following not-for-profit organisations form the Clean Arctic Alliance, which is committed to a ban on HFO as marine fuel in the Arctic:

Alaska Wilderness League, Bellona, Clean Air Task Force, Danish Ecological Council, Ecology and Development Foundation ECODES, Environmental Investigation Agency, European Climate Foundation, Friends of the Earth US, Greenpeace, Icelandic Nature Conservation Association, Nature And Biodiversity Conservation Union, Ocean Conservancy, Pacific Environment, Seas At Risk, Surfrider Foundation Europe, Stand.Earth, Transport & Environment and WWF.

More more information visit http://www.hfofreearctic.org/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CleanArctic

Contact

Dave Walsh, Communications Advisor, HFO-Free Arctic Campaign, Dave.Walsh@HFOFreeArctic.org, +34 691 826 764