The German ports of Bremen and Bremerhaven have signed up to the Arctic Commitment, a global campaign to ban the use of heavy fuel oil (HFO) in Arctic shipping.
Around 75% of marine fuel currently carried in the Arctic is HFO. As sea ice in the region melts, a greater number of vessels fuelled by HFO are likely to divert into Arctic waters in search of untapped resources and shorter voyage times.
bremenports GmbH & Co. operates the twin ports Bremen and Bremerhaven, which jointly rank as the fourth busiest container port in Europe and the 16th largest in the world.
“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,” says Dr Sian Prior, lead advisor to the Clean Arctic Alliance, the coalition of NGOs behind the Arctic Commitment.
An HFO ban has already been in place in Antarctic waters since 2011. 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 HFO spills, during the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee meeting.
“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,” Prior says.