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            may 23, 2019

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Eskimo eco-lobby asks IMO to cut back on heavy fuel use in Arctic


The UN's International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR) has taken under advisement an Eskimo plea to reduce or ban heavy fuel oil in arctic waters, reports the American Journal of Transportation.
In Canada a third of ship voyages in the Arctic used heavy fuel oil (HFOs). The heavy fuel also produces higher emissions of harmful pollutants like sulphur and nitrogen oxides and black carbon, said the petitioners.
The Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) Canada Vice-President (International) Lisa Koperqualuk spoke of "reducing risks and use and carriage of heavy fuel oil by ships in Arctic waters".
HFOs are banned in Antarctic waters, and the IMO committee is mandated to recommend to the IMO how HFOs should be dealt with in Arctic waters. The IMO is the United Nations (UN) agency charged with regulating international shipping.
This work on HFOs in the Arctic is helping IMO fulfil its mandate to protect oceans and human health and to mitigate climate change in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), notably on Climate Change, and Oceans (SDGs 13, and 14).
Said Ms Koperqualuk: "The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples recognises our cultural rights, economic rights, indigenous knowledge and self-determination. The committee must ensure that our communities are not negatively impacted, culturally, socially and economically by decisions here."
HFO is extremely thick and breaks down slowly in the cold Arctic environment. Even in ideal conditions, spill response in the Arctic is difficult if not impossible.

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