Environmental Organizations Urge IMO to Ban Low Sulfur Marine Fuel in Arctic

Green teams called for a ban on the use of new low sulfur fuel in the Arctic area, citing analysis showing that blends of the marine fuel contributed to extremely polluting black carbon emissions in the atmosphere.

Since the beginning of this year, UN’s shipping company, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), has banned ships from using fuels with sulfur above 0.5%, in contrast with 3.5% previously, within the most significant overhaul for the oil and shipping sectors in a long time.

The rules, known as IMO 2020, are aimed toward improving human health by lowering air pollution.

Only ships outfitted with sulfur-cleaning gadgets, generally known as scrubbers, shall be allowed to continue burning high-sulfur gas. Shipowners may also opt for cleaner fuels comparable to liquified natural gasoline (LNG).

Germany and Finland submitted a paper on the Arctic to the IMO in 2019, displaying that new blends of marine fuels with 0.5% sulfur content can include a significant percentage of aromatic compounds, which have a straight impact on black carbon emissions.

It is the first time that a connection between blends of low sulfur fuel and black carbon — the product of incomplete kindling of carbon-based fuels and a contributor to climate change — has been raised in the context of the IMO.

The Alliance referred to as for a direct switch to distillate fuels for ships in the Arctic and sought clarification on how low sulfur gasoline blends were formed for IMO 2020.

An IMO spokesperson stated the subsequent session of its sub-committee on pollution prevention and answered in February would focus on the submissions, together with the influence on the Arctic of black carbon emissions.