Clean Arctic Alliance welcomes the 2020 sulphur ban

Sarah Carter
Sarah Carter

14 February 2018


Responding to the agreement of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to move towards a ban on the carriage of shipping fuel with sulphur content above 0.5%. Dr Sian Prior, lead advisor to the Clean Arctic Alliance, said: “The Clean Arctic Alliance welcomes the 2020 sulphur ban, which should drive a switch away from the use of heavy fuel oil (HFO) towards lighter alternatives – and result in less black carbon released in the Arctic environment.” Prior added: “However, while the sulphur cap will reduce the amount of heavy fuel oil being used anywhere – including in the Arctic – it will not eliminate it completely. We’re calling on the IMO to make progress towards a ban on HFO at this April’s MEPC meeting, to protect the Arctic from the world’s dirtiest fuel.” After 2020, it is expected that while HFO with less than 0.5% sulphur will be available (but is in short supply), while distillate blends will be more readily available. The IMO Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR) took place in London from 5th-9th of February, where draft amendments to the MARPOL Convention were agreed upon limiting the sulphur content of fuel after January 1st 2020,along with a reporting protocol for voluntary studies to collect black carbon data and on the best black carbon measurement methods for data collection. “The Clean Arctic Alliance is disappointed with the lack of commitment to start discussions of measures for dealing with black carbon impacts on the Arctic during PPR5. That said, exploring the issue intersessionally should allow member states to consider the various abatement measures on the table, and hopefully rule out those that are neither appropriate or feasible.”