Responding to media reports that Canada and Russia have written letters to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), stating their reasons for not implementing the 2024 prohibition on heavy fuel oil (HFO), Dr Sian Prior, lead advisor to the Clean Arctic Alliance, raised concerns.
ccording to Dr Prior, “IMO Member States must now strengthen the Arctic heavy fuel oil fuel prohibition regulation by removing the option for Arctic coastal states to issue waivers to the requirements, particularly since it appears that Russia – who pushed for the ability to issue waivers – is delaying approval of the Arctic HFO prohibition amendments which brought the ban into effect.”
According to media reports, Canada has written to the IMO stating that although “it fully support and intends to comply with the [MARPOL Annexe 1, June 15 2021] amendments”, it cannot, as “it may not have finalized its treaty adoption process prior to the entry of the amendments”. The letter goes on to say that “Canada has begun its domestic procedures and will inform the [IMO] of their completion in a subsequent note”.
Russia has also informed the IMO last month that “the amendments as adopted by the Resolution MEPC.329(76) will not enter into force for the Russian Federation on the 1st of November, 2022”, however unlike Canada, there is no indication of when Russia’s amendments will be introduced.
With Arctic vessel traffic continuing to increase, it’s urgent Canada puts in place a plan to rid the Canadian Arctic of the world’s most hazardous and polluting marine fuel
stated Sam Davin, Senior Specialist, Marine Conservation & Shipping at WWF Canada.
Considering the above, the Clean Arctic Alliance calls on Canada to exclude loopholes such the so-called ‘waivers’ which would exempt ships from the ban, and set up a federal marine fuel transition fund to ensure any negative economic consequences from the ban’s implementation do not adversely impact communities in the north.
It also urges Canada to require all ships operating in domestic waters to use cleaner alternatives to heavy fuels, such as distillates, as Norway has done in the waters of the Svalbard archipelago.
Next month there is an opportunity for urgent discussions at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to ensure that all nations flagging ships which use the Arctic don’t circumvent the new Arctic HFO ban regulation, and to strengthen its application and effectiveness in protecting the Arctic and its people, wildlife and ecosystems
Dr Prior concluded.