Clean Arctic Alliance Asks Cosco to Speak Up On Arctic Fuel Choice

HFO Free Arctic

Clean Arctic Alliance Asks Cosco to Speak Up On Arctic Fuel Choice

Beijing, 5 September 2018:- Responding to news that the COSCO-owned Chinese cargo vessel Tian’en has departed Arctic waters for the French port of Rouen, having travelled via the Arctic’s Northern Sea Route or “Polar Silk Road” along the coast of Russia, between the Pacific and the Atlantic, Clean Arctic Alliance Lead Advisor Sian Prior said:

“The Clean Arctic Alliance calls on COSCO to make public the nature of the fuel that the Tian’en has used and carried through Arctic waters – and for Cosco and its customers to commit to using – and carrying only lighter distillate fuels or other cleaner alternatives instead of the world’s dirtiest fuel – heavy fuel oil (HFO) – to power ships in the Arctic.”

“With Arctic summer sea ice at approximately half the extent it was in the 1970s and half the volume, and following the news that the region’s strongest sea ice has broken up twice this year, for the first time on record, using heavy fuel oil to power shipping in the Arctic is a poor choice. It not only increases the risk of oil spills, but also generates emissions of black carbon, which exacerbate the melting of both sea and glacier ice in the Arctic region.”

“Cosco should be leading a vanguard of companies interested in shipping commercial goods through the Arctic, as they move towards clean and renewable forms of propulsion for Arctic shipping”, continued Prior.

In April 2018, the International Maritime Organization’s Marine Environment Protection Committee agreed to move forward on consideration of a Arctic ban on heavy fuel oil – which is already banned in Antarctic waters.  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”.

“There is nothing for shipping companies to celebrate about the melting of the Arctic ice. Using the Arctic as a passage is a privilege that brings responsibility”, said Chen Jiliang, researcher from Greenovation Hub, an environmental NGO based in Beijing.

“Now it is time for international shipping companies to clean up their act by moving to cleaner fuels, while operating in sensitive and vulnerable regions of the world – for the sake of the Arctic, its people, its wildlife and indeed, for the whole planet”, concluded Prior.

 

ENDS

 

Further Reading:

A Chinese cargo ship specially built for the Arctic has embarked on its first Northern Sea Route voyage

August 2018: Clean Arctic Alliance challenges Maersk on Arctic Shipping Fuel

August 2018: Clean Arctic Alliance challenges Canada’s Fednav on Arctic Shipping Fuel

 

Contact

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

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