From 1 July 2024, heavy fuel oil (HFO) may no longer be used or carried as domestic fuel in bunker tanks when in Arctic waters, with some exceptions, DNV reminds in a recent regulatory update.
As such, DNV highlights that ”for ships entering Artic waters, it is essential to ensure that any remaining HFO is disposed of before entering unless the ship is exempted.”.
However, there are some regions where the above prohibition does not apply:
- Ships engaged in securing the safety of ships, search and rescue operations, or dedicated to oil spill preparedness and response are exempted.
- Ships subject to Regulation 12A of MARPOL Annex I (oil fuel tank protection) or Regulation 1.2.1* of Part II-A of the Polar Code may use and carry HFO until 1 July 2029.
- When operating in domestic waters under the sovereignty or jurisdiction of their flag state may be temporarily waived until 1 July 2029.
HFO in this context implies fuel oil having a density at 15°C higher than 900 kg/m3 or a kinematic viscosity at 50°C higher than 180 mm2/s. It has been discussed whether to also include the pour point as an additional qualifier in the future, but this has not yet been concluded.
The cleaning or flushing of bunker tanks or pipelines is not required after using HFO to prepare for operation within Arctic waters. HFO carried as cargo on tankers is not affected by this regulation.