The Clean Arctic Alliance – a consortium of 20 non-profit organisations – has called upon the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to modify its draft heavy fuel oil (HFO) regulation, describing the current proposal as “a ban in name only”.

During the Clean Arctic Alliance webinar held on September 28, speakers explored what the IMO’s Arctic HFO regulation would mean for Arctic environmental protection if adopted as currently drafted.

Under the draft Arctic HFO regulation, exemptions and waivers will allow 74 percent of HFO-fuelled shipped to continue using HFO in the Arctic until mid-2029. This, according to the Clean Arctic Alliance, will result in only 30 percent of HFO carriage and 16 percent of HFO use being banned under the proposal when it comes into effect in 2024.

The Clean Arctic Alliance also said that the regulation is not flag-neutral. This could result in lower environmental standards in Arctic territorial seas and exclusive economic zones, when compared to the Arctic high seas areas.

The organisation stressed that: “It is essential that the ban on HFO use and carriage as fuel in the Arctic is fit for purpose and enters into force quickly, and provides the Arctic with the level of protection that it so desperately and urgently needs.”