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Iceland mulls HFO ban options in territorial waters

Nordic nation evaluates strategies to reduce pollution from burning heavy fuel oil.



Image credit: Pixabay CC0


Updated on 01 Jun 2018 08:43 GMT

Iceland's Environment ministry has presented a report by the country's Environment Agency on how best to reduce pollution from burning heavy fuel oil (HFO) - including the full ban option.

The Environment Agency estimates that the main gain of a ban on burning HFO in Icelandic waters would be: better air quality, especially when ships are in harbour; less risk of serious pollution due to an oil leak; reduced emissions of sulphur oxide (SOx) and nitrogen oxide (NOx); and a positive image for Iceland.

The associated costs would be more expensive fuel and a need for increased monitoring and enforcement by implementing stricter regulation.

According to the Agency, approximately 26 percent of all vessels sailing through Icelandic waters burn HFOs of some kind.

The Agency concludes that establishing an Emission Control Area (ECA) in Icelandic waters would require extensive work and be costly.

Two other possibilities mentioned are: establishing ECAs within Iceland's Fjords; and establishing an ECA within the 12-mile limit.

Neither of these two alternatives would need IMO clearance, the report says.

As previously reported, plans to develop a ban on HFO from Arctic shipping, along with an assessment of the impact of such a ban, were agreed during the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 72) in April.

The meeting directed the Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR) to develop a ban on heavy fuel oil use and carriage for use by ships in the Arctic at its next session, in February 2019 (PPR6), "on the basis of an assessment of the impacts" and "on an appropriate timescale".

In addition to assessing the impact of a ban on communities and developing a ban on HFO use and carriage as fuel in the Arctic, PPR 6 is to develop a definition of HFO taking into account regulation 43 of MARPOL Annex I (the Antarctic HFO ban) and prepare a set of guidelines on mitigation measures to reduce risks of use and carriage of HFO as fuel by ships in Arctic waters.

The development followed the agreement made in July 2017 for MEPC to consider the "development of measures to reduce risks of use and carriage of heavy fuel oil as fuel by ships in Arctic waters".

A strongly worded proposal to ban HFO as shipping fuel from Arctic waters was co-sponsored by Iceland in conjunction with Finland, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the US.






Related Links:

PPR6 to develop Arctic HFO ban as nations urge 2021 implementation
IMO nations must back Arctic HFO ban: NGO
Arctic ban on HFO: What to expect from MEPC 72
Record Northern Sea Route volume prompts fresh call for HFO ban
Iceland

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