IMO discusses ban on using heating oil in the Arctic
© RIA Novosti. Kirill Yasko

IMO discusses ban on using heavy fuel oil in the Arctic

States parties of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) are discussing a ban on using heavy fuel oil (mazut) in Arctic shipping, RIA Novosti reports.

"A joint proposal put forward by Finland, Germany, Iceland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the United States is calling for a ban on heavy fuel oil. This is one of the documents related to the use of heavy fuel oil, which will be discussed by the Marine Environment Protection Committee at the IMO London headquarters from April 9 to 13," says a Clean Arctic Alliance report quoted by the agency.

According to environmentalists, heavy fuel oil, a pollutant, accounts for nearly 80 percent of fuel burned by world shipping and about 75 percent of ship fuel used in the Arctic, with more than a half of mazut-burning ships flying flags of non-Arctic states that have no relation to the Arctic.

"Using heavy fuel oil also leads to massive atmospheric emissions that pollute the environment. We are speaking about sulfur oxide and hard soot particles (black carbon). They are much more harmful to the environment than alternative fuels such as light distillate fuel and liquefied natural gas," environmentalists say.

Besides, heavy fuel oil dissolves very slowly in the cold waters, and its spills can hardly be localized. This is the reason why this heavy fuel has been banned in the Antarctic, the report says.