Welcome to the Arctic Summit News!
ECO is pleased to be in the vibrant and cosmopolitan city of London for the 7th session of the International Maritime Organization’s Pollution Prevention & Response sub- committee meeting. What’s that – IMO meetings are always in London? But what about IMO’s Torremolinos Convention, Cape Town Agreement, Hong Kong Convention? ECO assumed that covering the debates and progress of the international shipping community would be an opportunity to tour the IMO Members’ capitals. Oh well, ECO is still pleased to be at the IMO – a first for ECO.
This year’s PPR sub-committee and IMO Members have a very busy agenda with a wide range of pollution prevention issues to consider and important decisions to be made. Given that it is just over 10 years since the publication of the Arctic Council’s Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment, it is very timely that PPR has not one but two Arctic focused agenda items – mitigating heavy fuel oil spill risk and reducing the impacts of black carbon emissions. In the face of the global climate crisis being experienced first hand in the Arctic and by Arctic Indigenous communities,ECO has decided that the Arctic will be the focus of this series of ECOs and ECO will dub PPR 7, the IMO’s Arctic Summit.
Heading to a HFO Free Arctic
One of PPR’s important tasks this week is to consider impact assessments and develop a ban on HFO use and carriage as fuel by ships in Arctic waters. An Antarctic ban has been in place for nearly a decade, and ECO sees no reason why the presence of communities and polar bears would mean that the Arctic should be considered less vulnerable or less sensitive. Indeed, special consideration must be given to the views of Indigenous groups. Eleven IMO Members have proposed draft ban language, and ECO believes every effort must now focus on finalizing the amendments and sending them to MEPC for approval and adoption. ECO does wonder about a five-year delay in implementation for ships complying with oil fuel tank protections. What will have changed in 5 years’ time to justify such a delay?
Continue reading: The Arctic Summit News, ECO Issue 1- NGO Newsletter PPR 7 – February 17, 2020
“Technical failures, HFO spill risks, and inferior black carbon reductions”
Among the notable agenda items that ECO will be following closely during PPR 7 is a review of the 2015 Guidelines for Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (EGCS), and an evaluation and harmonization of rules and guidance on the discharge of liquid effluents from EGCS into waters. It seems obvious to ECO that this is a timely and urgent issue as increasing numbers of ships are installing these systems to continue
to burn HFO under IMO 2020. EGCS also do not address the spill risk associated with the use of HFO and provide inferior black carbon reductions. From ECO’s perspective, an immediate moratorium on the use of EGCS should be considered while the marine impacts and efficacy of these systems are fully assessed. Further, ECO thinks that “harmonization” must not hinder States from enacting stronger regulations.