Iceland Plans Fuel Oil Ban to Lower Emissions in Its Waters

Shipping emissionsIllustration; Source: PxHere under CCO license /Public Domain

Iceland’s Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources has proposed a ban on use of heavy fuel oil in the country’s waters, according to the Clean Arctic Alliance.

Namely, the Ministry is looking to adopt a new regulation on the use of fuel oil with more than 0.1% sulphur content for ships operating in its territorial waters.

“While this prohibition will lower emissions of sulphur oxides, and particulate matter content of emissions and protect Iceland’s territorial waters beyond international requirements, and could potentially reduce heavy fuel oil (HFO) use and black carbon emissions too, we believe that Iceland should completely ban HFO use and carriage as fuel in its territorial waters,” Dr. Sian Prior, Lead Advisor to the Clean Arctic Alliance, said.

Prior explained that the complete ban should be implemented due to risks associated with HFO spill that would not be fully addressed by a prohibition on the use of fuels with a sulphur content > 0.1%, since some vessels will continue to use HFO and will install scrubbers to reduce the sulphur content of the emissions; and it is also possible that some vessels may opt to use low sulphur heavy fuel or blends of fuels that meet the 0.1% requirement, but are still mixed with HFOs.

Furthermore, he added that it should be recognised that a switch to < 0.1% sulphur content fuels will reduce black carbon emissions, but not eliminate them. A ban on HFO use and carriage, along with the installation of a diesel particulate filter would achieve significant reductions in the black carbon emissions (>90% black carbon reductions).

Iceland has already backed a ban on HFO from Arctic Waters. At MEPC 72 in April 2018, a strongly-worded proposal to ban HFO as shipping fuel from Arctic waters was co-sponsored by Finland, Germany, Iceland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the U.S.

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