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

Protest outside PPR7, IMO, Photo DJ Tyson, Pacific Environment
Protest outside PPR7, IMO, Photo DJ Tyson, Pacific Environment

Ban Must Be Implemented Without Delay; Northern Communities Must Not Bear Cost 

London, Tuesday February 18, 2020:- Responding to today’s press release from the Government of Canada  stating that that “Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, announced the Government of Canada’s support for a ban on heavy fuel oil in Arctic waters”, Clean Arctic Alliance (CAA) Lead Advisor Dr Sian Prior said [1]:

“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”.

“The use and carriage of HFO in the Arctic is increasing, with a 46% increase in the volume of HFO fuel carried by ships in the Arctic between 2015 and 2017, and a 57% increase in the amount of HFO used – and this will only increase the risks of HFO spills and impacts from black carbon in the region [2]. IMO Member States, in particular Arctic governments, must cooperate on the delivery of a ban as quickly as possible.

The Canadian Government press release states that “Ministers also announced they will be seeking a phased-in approach to the ban as Canada discusses with IMO countries ways to help balance the environmental benefits with the economic realities of northern, Indigenous and Inuit communities.” [1]

“Canada is to be commended for working towards protecting the Arctic marine environment while will ensure communities have access to a clean ocean for food and culture – but given the threats from using heavy fuel oil, there should be no delay to the introduction of a ban. The Canadian government must support implementing a ban without delay, and immediately shoulder any potential costs associated with switching away HFO so that people in Northern communities are not impacted”, added Andrew Dumbrille, Senior Sustainable Shipping Specialist at WWF Canada, a CAA member. [3]

Further reading:Phasing Out the Use and Carriage for Use of Heavy Fuel Oil in the Canadian Arctic: Impacts to Northern Communities – Nuka Research and Planning Group for WWF, 2018

The Clean Arctic Alliance is currently attending the IMO’s PPR7 (Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response) in London, where several issues regarding the Arctic, including the banning of heavy fuel oil, are on the agenda. More details here. See also



Dave Walsh, Clean Arctic Alliance Communications Advisor, +34 691 826 764 (Barcelona, CET)

Tina Knezevic, WWF-Canada Communications specialist, WWF-Canada,, +1 416-873-8448 (Ottawa, EST)



[1] 18 February 2020: The Government of Canada supports a global ban on heavy fuel oil in the Arctic (Press Release)

[2] Comer, B., 2019. Heavy Fuel Oil and Black Carbon in the Arctic, 2015 to 2017. Presentation to PPR 6, London, February 2019.

 [3] Phasing Out the Use and Carriage for Use of Heavy Fuel Oil in the Canadian Arctic: Impacts to Northern Communities


About the Clean Arctic Alliance

The following not-for-profit organisations form the Clean Arctic Alliance, which is committed to a ban on HFO as marine fuel in the Arctic:

Alaska Wilderness League, Bellona, Clean Air Task Force, Green Transition Denmark, Ecology and Development Foundation ECODES, Environmental Investigation Agency, European Climate Foundation, Friends of the Earth US, Greenpeace, Iceland Nature Conservation Association, Nature And Biodiversity Conservation Union, Ocean Conservancy, Pacific Environment, Seas At Risk, Surfrider Foundation Europe, Stand.Earth, Transport & Environment and WWF.

More more information visit