Keep the world's dirtiest fuel out of Arctic waters
The Arctic is experiencing serious environmental changes—as temperatures rise, the sea ice is declining rapidly. As the ice decreases, the Arctic becomes more accessible and ship traffic will increase.
Increased vessel traffic in the Arctic means a higher risk of oil pollution. The most common fuel used by large vessels in the region is heavy fuel oil or HFO—the world’s dirtiest fuel.
If spilled, HFO remains in the marine environment for a very long time, and is nearly impossible to clean up, especially in cold Arctic waters. Moreover, when ships burn HFO in their engines, they emit black carbon, a harmful pollutant that contributes to the rapid warming of the Arctic region.
Due to the dangers it poses to the marine environment, the use of HFO has been banned in some regions. The waters of the Arctic merit similar protection. Take action today by calling on the member nations of the United Nations International Maritime Organization to phase out the use of HFO in all Arctic waters!
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Member nations of the United Nations International Maritime Organization,
As an ocean advocate, I would like to thank the United States, Canada and others for their introduction of a new International Maritime Organization work programme item "to develop measures to reduce risks of use and carriage of heavy fuel oil (HFO) as fuel by ships in Arctic waters."
Moving forward, I urge the Member nations of the United Nations International Maritime Organization to advocate for a PHASE OUT of USE of HFO by vessels in the Arctic.
HFO is the most commonly used fuel by large vessels in the Arctic, and is also the world’s dirtiest fuel. HFO is the residual product of crude oil that is refined and stripped of more valuable components. If spilled, HFO persists in the environment for long periods of time, and is nearly impossible to recover. Burning HFO in vessel engines releases harmful black carbon into the atmosphere, which contributes to the rapid warming of the Arctic region. Due to the dangers it poses to the marine environment, the use and carriage of HFO have already been banned in Antarctica.
I urge the Member nations of the United Nations International Maritime Organization to advocate for a PHASE OUT of USE of HFO by vessels in the Arctic.
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