What Legal Framework Would Support a Phase Out of Heavy Fuel Oil in Arctic Waters?

Any phase out of the use of HFO as marine fuel in the Arctic on the international level would require an amendment to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), which is the primary international law covering the prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships. Agreed measures are then incorporated into domestic law.

Phasing out the use of HFO as marine fuel in Arctic waters can be most easily accomplished by amending MARPOL Annex I, which sets forth regulations that are designed to minimize pollution from ships. Currently, MARPOL Annex I, Regulation 43 prohibits the carriage of HFO in bulk as cargo or ballast and the carriage and use of HFO as fuel in the Antarctic. The International Maritime Organization could adopt a similar amendment to MARPOL Annex I prohibiting the use of HFO as marine fuel in the Arctic.