Bremen and Bremerhaven have joined companies, politicians and NGOs from across the world in a campaign to ban heavy fuel oil from Arctic shipping.
The german ports are the fourth busiest container ports in Europe, and the 16th busiest in the world. Robert Howe, CEO of Bremenports GmbH & Co. KG. who operate the ports, said:
“bremenports is proud to sign up to the Arctic Commitment. Heavy fuel oil has no place in Arctic shipping. We are calling on other ports to join us on calling on the IMO to enact a ban on its use in Arctic waters,”
“Sustainability is a central element in bremenport’s strategy,” said Howe. “We have implemented numerous projects under the label ‘greenports’, some of which have won international awards. In order to reduce local air pollution, we will soon bring into service a LNG-powered barge for dredged material. In addition, sustainability and environmental issues are integrated into bremenport’s public outreach.”
The arctic commitment was launched at the Arctic Frontiers conference in January 2017 by the Clean Arctic Alliance. The coalition of non-governmental organisations and expedition cruise ship operator Hurtigruten, the campaign aims to protect Arctic communities and ecosystems from the risks posed by the use of heavy fuel oil, and calls on the IMO to ban its use as marine fuel by Arctic shipping.
Around 75 percent of marine fuel currently carried in the Arctic is heavy fuel oil
In July 2017, the Clean Arctic Alliance welcomed action being taken by IMO member states to start work to identify measures to mitigate the risks of heavy fuel oil spills during the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee meeting (MEPC71). Dr. Sian Prior, lead advisor to the Clean Arctic Alliance, said:
“With the IMO’s MEPC72 meeting coming up in April, we are encouraged to see major maritime operators like bremenports supporting the banning of the use and carriage of HFO as ship fuel in Arctic waters.”
“A ban is the simplest and most effective mechanism for mitigating the consequences of a spill and reducing harmful emissions. With many countries – including Germany – now backing a ban on HFO from the Arctic, we hope to see other ports join Bremenports in becoming Arctic Commitment signatories, to help build understanding of the HFO problem and increase the momentum to end its use by Arctic shipping.”
As sea ice melts and opens up Arctic waters further, large non-Arctic state flagged vessels fuelled by heavy fuel oil are expected to divert to Arctic waters in search of shorter journey times.