Arctic Council states must lead on strengthening Arctic shipping rules
“The Code still needs a lot of work,” says WWF shipping expert Simon Walmsley. “While the negotiations made progress on some issues, they have so far failed to address other pressing matters such as a ban on the use and carriage of heavy fuel oil in the Arctic.”
Heavy fuel oil is currently used to fuel ships operating in the Arctic and is transported for onshore usage, accidents can result in very polluting spills devastating local environments. The use and carriage of heavy fuel oil is already banned in the Antarctic, but not in the Arctic. Tens of thousands of tonnes of heavy fuel oil have been spilled from a single ship in previous accidents.
Other current omissions from the code include:
- The environmental and climatic impact of ship air pollution including black carbon emissions is not addressed
- The prevention of the introduction of non-native/invasive species through ballast water discharges and hull fouling is not addressed in a specific polar context
- The impact on marine animals of underwater noise is not addressed
WWF expects that the Council will take the opportunity presented by a Senior Arctic Officials meeting next week in Yellowknife to discuss an effective response to the Polar Code shortcomings.
For more information:Clive Tesar, Head of Communications and External Relations, WWF Global Arctic Programme
Mobile: +1 613 883 3110 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Simon Walmsley, Marine Manager, WWF International
email@example.com, 07920 023 318
WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with almost five million supporters and a global network active in more than 100 countries. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.