What happened at The IMO Arctic Summit: PPR7?

London: Feb 17-21 2020; The International Maritime Organization gathered to address protection of the Arctic from the impacts of shipping. Here's what happened:

Heavy Fuel Oil:

  • IMO Regulation that starts to restrict the use and carriage of HFO as fuel on ships operating in Arctic waters will begin to take effect from 1 July 2024 - with the ban only taking place in 2029.
  • Application to vessels with double-hulls or protected fuel tanks will be delayed until 1 July 2029
  • Arctic countries (with a coastline which borders on Arctic waters) may waive the ban for ships flying their flag while operating in their waters and taking into account mitigation measure guidelines (still to be finalised) until 1 July 2029
  • Waivers should be reported
  • A Correspondence Group will work between now and PPR 8 to finalise the mitigation measure guidelines

Black Carbon

  • Support for revision of the ISO standard on marine fuels to consider taking into account concerns around the aromaticity of marine fuels
  • A Correspondence Group will advance the development of a standardized sampling, conditioning and measurement protocol and also investigate linkages between the measurement systems and policy options and report to PPR 8.

Breaking News

Needed Now, More Than Ever: The Arctic Ban On Heavy Fuel Oil

Tuesday May 19, 2020: It will certainly be bad news for the Arctic and for Arctic communities if the volume of shipping increases in the coming decade before environmental protections including a ban on the use and carriage of HFO take effect. Right now, like everything else on the planet, the timing and methods by which the IMO will next meet remain unresolved. But one thing is certain – we can see no rationale for delaying a ban on heavy fuel oil, a ban that has already taken years in the making and is already a decade behind similar protection for the Antarctic. Continue reading…

Arctic Heavy Fuel Oil Ban Inches Forward, but loopholes denounced as “outrageous”

Friday February 21, 2020: NGOs and Indigenous groups today cautiously acknowledged progress by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and its Member States in agreeing on a draft regulation on heavy fuel oil (HFO) use and carriage in the Arctic, but denounced the inclusion of loopholes in the text that mean the ban will not come into effect until 2029, leaving the Arctic exposed to the growing threat of HFO spills for close to another decade.

Continue reading…

Inuit orgs welcome Canada’s support of heavy fuel oil ban in Arctic waters

Wednesday February 19, 2020: Canada’s support of an international ban of heavy fuel oil (HFO) in Arctic waters is an important step to safeguard the long-term future of indigenous communities in the North, two Inuit organizations say.

“Transport Canada’s recent announcement to support an HFO ban in the Arctic demonstrates vision and leadership and is very encouraging,” the Canadian chapter of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) and Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI) said in a joint news release on Tuesday.

Continue reading…

Clean Arctic Alliance Response to Canada’s Backing of Heavy Fuel Oil Ban

London, Tuesday February 18, 2020:- Responding to today’s press release from the Government of Canada  announcing that  “the Government of Canada’s support for a ban on heavy fuel oil in Arctic waters”, Clean Arctic Alliance Lead Advisor Dr Sian Prior said: “The Clean Arctic Alliance welcomes Canada’s support for a ban on the use and carriage of heavy fuel oil in Arctic waters, however we believe the International Maritime Organization must not entertain any arguments calling for a delay or exemptions in the implementation of an Arctic ban on HFO”. Continue reading…

Will IMO Arctic Summit Act to Protect Arctic from Shipping Spills and Emissions?

London 17 February: NGOs this morning called on the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to protect the Arctic marine environment from the impacts of international shipping, by agreeing to a new regulation banning the use and carriage of heavy fuel oil (HFO) as fuel by ships operating in Arctic waters during this week’s “Arctic IMO Summit” in London. Continue reading…

Canada plans to support ban on heavy fuel oil in Arctic shipping

Radio Canada International: Canada will support a ban on the use of heavy fuel oil by ships plying Arctic waters at the upcoming meeting of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London, Transport Canada officials announced during a teleconference call Wednesday. Continue reading…

Social: #IMOArcticSummit

IMO Arctic Summit News

1 Dillingham, Alaska in December 2019.

For Arctic Indigenous people, is Foresight 2020?

Verner Wilson, Senior Oceans Campaigner at Friends of the Earth US, writes that 2020 must be a year of action, and if we fail to meet the challenge of the climate crisis, our inaction will have long-lasting impacts on the Arctic, its indigenous peoples, and the overall wellbeing of Earth’s climate.


Guide to the International Maritime Organization

Survival Guide:

Pacific Environment’s Guide to IMO is a resource for anyone looking to get a crash course in what the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is and how it operates. In the guide, you will find descriptions of committees and sub-committees, section by section summaries of key IMO instruments (like the Polar Code), a list of every participating non-governmental organization with links to their websites, a glossary of common acronyms and terms, and much more. Download here.

Press Releases

IMO Papers


Press Releases

HFO Free Arctic

The Clean Arctic Alliance is working for a ban on heavy fuel oil from Arctic shipping