Russia addressed IMO to prevent ban on heavy fuel oil in Arctic
Russia has sent a note to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to prevent a ban on the use of heavy fuel oil in the Arctic, Deputy Minister of Transport Yury Tsvetkov said when asked by IAA PortNews. According to him, the ban on heavy fuel oil in the Arctic was initiated by a group of countries lead by the USA at the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee.
“It is a fringe concern which will primarily affect ships involved in deliveries to the Northern territories that already yield little if any profit ... indigenous peoples and Arctic ethnic groups will take a hit. That will hinder the development of the northern areas”, said Yury Tsvetkov.
He emphasized that the ban would also be an obstacle to transit shipping on the Northern Sea Route.
According to the speaker, the issue of this ban prevention was brought up by the Russian side as per the IMO procedure having conducted an assessment of the ban consequences for the country affected.
“For that work we have involved the Russian Government’s Analytical Center and other bodies. The written research results proved to be interesting and fundamental ... We have submitted it to the IMO for a study. Simultaneously, we were working with other Arctic countries, - first of all it relates to Canada, - we were working with our Canadian colleagues to compare our notes and we hope that the discussion will continue and a reasonable decision will be made”, commented the official.
He added that this does not mean an inclination to reject environment protection in the Arctic as Russia, unlike other countries, already carries over a half of cargo in the Arctic by ships running on environmentally friendly fuels such as liquefied natural gas, diesel fuel and nuclear fuel.
“We have developed a package of measures aimed at minimization of damage (environmental damage - Ed.). Those are comprehensive measures ensuring all ships’ compliance with the Polar Code. All HFO-powered ships we are building today meet the Polar Code taking into consideration all its requirements including confinement of tanks to decrease fuel leakage probability in case of any damage caused by ice, etc. Development of oil spill response measures is also underway”, emphasized Yury Tsvetkov.