« Insights & News

EU Arctic resolution vote calls for HFO ban

Resolution passed by European Parliament in 483/100 plenary vote.

Image credit:

Updated on 16 Mar 2017 13:55 GMT

The European Parliament has today passed its resolution on the Arctic in a 483/100 plenary vote.

The Arctic resolution is a non-legislative document, which together with conclusions by the EU Council, is designed to guide future EU policy addressing environmental risks in the Arctic.

It follows the joint communication in April 2016 by the European Commission (EC) and High Representative to develop a more coherent framework for EU action and funding programmes, which fell short of calling for a ban on heavy fuel oil (HFO) use by ships in the Arctic, but was supportive of environmental protection.

The resolution adopted today "calls on the Commission and the Member States to take all necessary measures to actively facilitate the ban on the use of HFO and carriage as ship fuel in vessels navigating the Arctic seas through the MARPOL Convention, and/or through port state control as regulated in the waters surrounding Antarctica".

Today's resolution also "invites the Commission to include the environmental and climate risks of the use of HFO in its study on the risks that the increase in navigation of the Northern Sea Route would bring", and "calls on the Commission, in the absence of adequate international measures, to put forward proposals on rules for vessels calling at EU ports subsequent to, or prior to, journeys through Arctic waters, with a view to prohibiting the use and carriage of HFO".

Responding to today's vote, Dr Sian Prior, lead advisor to the Clean Arctic Alliance, said: "Today, the elected representatives of European citizens have delivered a clear message to the International Maritime Organization - it's time to ban the use of heavy fuel oil from Arctic shipping. By putting a ban in place by 2020, the IMO has an opportunity to reduce both the impact of oil spills and the levels of pollutants which drive the melting of Arctic snow and ice."

Faig Abbasov, shipping policy officer at Transport & Environment, remarked: "We welcome the European Parliament's clear call for a ban on the use of the refinery residues by ships in the Arctic. The next meeting of the IMO's environment committee is an important occasion to start formal discussions on addressing the risks related to using heavy fuel oil in the Arctic. Today's vote should be a clear signal for EU member states to put heavy fuel oil on the IMO's agenda in its next meeting."

The International Maritime Organization's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) is scheduled to meet this July in London, where it is expected that there will be a submission on the risks of using HFO in Arctic shipping.

ExxonMobil performs biofuel test deliveries in Singapore

MOL LNG carrier refuelled with blend of VLSFO and 25% FAME.

CNOOC joins LNG bunker supply partnership

Network covering North-West Europe and Singapore is strengthened with the addition of Chinese ports.

Hydrogen multi-fuel station gets go-ahead

Concept uses three fuelling options: liquid hydrogen, compressed gaseous hydrogen and electric charging.

Methanol fuel cell project 'proceeding as planned': Alfa Laval

Programme said to be on track for 200 kW installation.

Gasum performs La Rochelle's first LNG bunker delivery

Supplier declares ambition for further geographical growth.

Norway's IFE makes case for thorium-powered ships

Using floating nuclear reactor to recharge ships is 'one of, if not the, most feasible alternative future fuels', says specialist.

GoodFuels kickstarts biofuel deliveries in Singapore

Aims to secure new sustainable feedstock and expand supply sources in Asia.

Ammonia bunker vessel to be developed in Singapore

Project partners aim to produce a vessel design that 'de-risks ammonia as a marine fuel'.

Singapore posts lowest H1 bunker sales since 2015 despite 14.5% jump in ship arrivals

YoY bunker calls decline over 12 successive months.

Med ECA approved; zero 2050 target gains traction

SOx ECA set for adoption at MEPC 79; NGOs demand stricter measures despite growing support for zero GHGs by 2050.