No to the use of heavy fuel oil in the Arctic

“The Norwegian Shipowners 'Association will support an international ban on the use of heavy fuel oil (HFO) for propulsion for ships in the Arctic, "says CEO of Norwegian Shipowners' Association, Sturla Henriksen. The NSA assumes that a ban on heavy fuel oil for propulsion should apply within the geographical area of the Polar Code with the following clarifications: It will be allowed to have HFO in the bunker tanks in the field of work and it is permitted to use HFO for propulsion outside the field of operation.

“This will reduce the total volume of heavy fuel oil on ships in the Arctic, thus reducing the risk for accidental oil spills with the subsequent  major consequences this may have for the pristine and vulnerable environment in the Arctic, "says Henriksen.

A potential ban on HFO must be agreed through a process in the UN Maritime Organization, IMO, using conventions like SOLAS and MARPOL could be suitable as an instrument.

Figures from the Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment (AMSA) indicates that about 6,000 vessels operate in the Arctic - of which about 1600 fishing vessels. An analysis conducted by DNV GL shows that transport of raw materials out of the Arctic will be dominated by bulk and tankers. The analysis shows that the dominant use of heavy oil is on ships between 10,000-25,000 gross tons, while smaller ships below 5,000 gross tons are far less used.

The majority of all ship movements in the Arctic are destination transports with vital supplies to the population living there and for the dispatch of products from industrial activity in the form of metals, petroleum, fish and timber. In recent years there has also been a significant increase in cruise traffic, especially the so-called adventure cruise.

“A number of our members have activity in the northern areas. This is mainly in offshore service, drilling, underwater operations and seismic and traditional shipping such as shipping of oil and gas products and bulk, "concludes Sturla Henriksen.