• 2020 February 14 18:07

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

    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, according to people who participated in the call, RCI said yesterday.

    Transport Canada officials announced their commitment to a heavy fuel oil (HFO) ban “with certain caveats” during a stakeholder engagement call ahead of the 7th Session of the IMO’s Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR7) that begins on Monday, according to at least two participants of the call.

    A Transport Canada spokesperson would neither confirm nor deny the report.

    This would make Canada the seventh Arctic country to support the proposal that has been championed by environmental groups and the Inuit Circumpolar Council since at least 2015 but has faced stiff opposition from maritime shipping companies involved in sealift operations in the Canadian Arctic.

    The proposed ban on heavy fuel oil will apply to all ships operating north of 60˚N latitude off the coasts of Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, as well as parts of Nunavik in Northern Quebec.

    Internationally it will include waters off Alaska’s coast north of 60˚N latitude, almost the entire Arctic coast of Russia with the exception of waters off Kola Peninsula, Norway’s Svalbard Archipelago, and entire Greenland.

    Heavy fuel oil (HFO), a thick viscous residual fuel that produces high amounts of soot, particulate matter and black carbon, is already banned in ships operating in Antarctic waters since 2011.

    The Canadian submission to PPR7 obtained by Radio Canada International says banning HFO in the Arctic would bring environmental benefits but would come at a higher economic cost for northern communities dependent on the marine resupply from southern Canada.

    The announcement by Transport Canada officials that they plan to back the HFO ban drew the ire of Suzanne Paquin, president and CEO of NEAS Group Inc., a Montreal-based shipping company that serves communities in Canada’s Eastern Arctic.

    Paquin said, the company, which is jointly owned by Makivik Corporation, Nunavik’s Inuit Birthright Corporation, and Transport Nanuk Inc., provides sealift operations to all of the Inuit communities in Nunavut and Nunavik.

    The ships owned and operated by NEAS run on HFO, she said.

    “Not running on HFO will have an impact, especially given cold climate weather, which can have an impact on these engines and that’s what has not been tested,” Paquin said.

    Paquin said in more than 30 years of her professional experience related to maritime shipping she has never heard of an HFO spill in the Arctic and accused Ottawa to caving in to a “campaign of misinformation and misguidedness.”

    Environmental groups, on the other hand, applauded the government’s decision.

    Transport Canada should be commended for working towards protecting the marine environment and ensuring communities have access to a clean ocean for food and culture, Dumbrille said.

    HFO spills as a result of an accident present a big threat to the Arctic environment, according to experts.

    HFO has a high viscosity and density and does not evaporate quickly, and can stay in the environment for a long time, according to the Canadian submission.

    Clean-up efforts will be particularly challenging given the cold environment, the enormous distances and the lack of infrastructure and resources to mount a quick response, the report notes.

    Not all experts agree that substituting HFO by marine diesel would lead to less environmental damage in case of a spill.

    Merv Fingas, an Edmonton-based spill response expert who wrote a study for Transport Canada on this issue, said efforts by environmental groups to ban HFO in favour of lighter distillate fuels are “misguided” because these fuels have water-soluble components that are toxic to aquatic organisms.

    Canada should follow Finland’s example and move away from both HFO and diesel towards other fuels such as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG) that don’t present the same risks in case of a spill, Fingas said.

    Transport Canada does not agree with Fingas’s view that marine diesel presents a higher risk in case of a marine spill.

    Paquin said instead of banning HFO the federal government should be investing in spill response measures and infrastructure in remote Arctic communities.

    Marine diesel fuels are up to 100 times more toxic than HFO fuels they will replace, she said.

    The increased cost of fuel due the HFO ban could result in additional price increases for community resupply products in the range of 0.7 per cent to 1.9 per cent, Canada’s submission to the IMO says.

    The potential financial impact on northern communities could be further compounded by the introduction of new measures to reduce air pollution generated by the maritime shipping industry worldwide that came into effect as of Jan. 1, 2020.

    The IMO has introduced the 0.5 per cent sulphur content cap in marine fuel with the aim of reducing harmful sulphur emissions from ships by 77 per cent by 2025.

    This means that as of Jan. 1 the shipping industry can no longer use heavy fuel oil, which was the cheapest fuel available and normally contained up to 3.5 per cent of sulphur, said Dumbrille.

    The shipping industry estimates that this could translate into an increase in the cost of the sealift of up to $700 per household for remote Arctic communities that get the majority of their goods during the short summer marine resupply season.

    The HFO ban would add another $700 dollars to this bill and will disproportionally affect Inuit communities that have much lower incomes and can ill-afford the price increase, the industry claims.

    Officials at Qikiqtani Inuit Association, a regional Inuit association that represents 13 Inuit communities in eastern Nunavut, also were not available for comment.

    William Tagoona of Makivik Corporation, which represents Inuit communities in Nunavik, said they are not ready to comment on the issue “until more information is made available.”

    Dumbrille said the commitment to banning HFO from Transport Canada is going to provide certainty for all involved and prepare operators and communities for the eventual ban.


2020 February 27

18:05 European yards specify Thordon System as standard for deck machinery
17:48 IMO's GloFouling Partnership project tackles problem of invasive aquatic species in Sri Lanka
17:29 Tallink Grupp reports nearly 25% higher net profit for the full financial year 2019
17:05 AquaTerra acquires Subsea Engineering and Technical Services
16:51 Zelenodolsk Shipyard named after A.M. Gorky laid down passenger ship Chaika LNG
16:35 Vale clarifies incident with contracted vessel
16:04 NYK Cruises to cancel cruises due to coronavirus
15:30 Average physical depreciation of Rosmorport’s berthing facilities is 24%
15:07 National Association of Shipping Agencies addresses FAS over plans on multiple increase of port dues in Russia
14:56 Arbitration award related to purchase options for four VLCCs on charter to Okeanis ECO Tankers
14:43 ASCO strengthened preventive measures against coronavirus
14:19 ASCO takes necessary precautionary measures to prevent environmental damage
13:55 Rotterdam to host ACI’s 24th Ballast Water Management Conference on 7-8 April 2020
13:53 Ørsted signs 20-year lease with Port of Taichung for Greater Changhua offshore wind farms
13:34 Vysotsk VTS obtains Certificate of Conformity
13:12 Xeneta container rates alert: long-term contracted rates hold despite Coronavirus chaos
12:56 Certificate of Conformity obtained for Ust-Luga VTS
12:33 Finnlines published its 2019 Financial Statements and Financial Review
12:10 A.P. Moller - Maersk links new $5.0bn revolving credit facility to its CO2 performance
11:52 Port of Gdynia seeks opportunities for further development
11:28 Rosmorport’s Murmansk Branch performed pilotage of Capesize vessel
11:04 Rosmorport to complete dredging under NOVATEK’s project in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky by April 2021
10:41 3rd Technical Conference "Modern Solutions for Hydraulic Engineering" kicks off in Moscow
10:35 Ships of RF Navy’s Baltic Fleet continue performing planned training as part of its long-distance campaign
10:16 Port of Oakland debt ratings affirmed by Fitch
10:13 Brent Crude futures price is down 1.52% to $51.99, Light Sweet Crude – fell to 1.54% to $47.98
09:56 Hydrographic Department to dredge about 20 million cbm of material on Sabetta’s seaway canal in 2020
09:34 Marine Recruiting Agency LLC trained 1,957 specialists in 2019, up 2.6% YoY
09:32 MABUX: Bunker market this morning, Feb 27
09:15 Baltic Dry Index is up to 517 points

2020 February 26

18:37 Royal IHC to supply integrated power cablelay spread
18:01 Chartwell Marine announces sponsorship agreement with Alan Roberts Racing in the lead up to the 2020 racing season
17:29 Keppel delivers world’s fastest brownfield FPSO modification project
17:26 Busan Port Authority and Samsung SDS signed a contract to operate a logistics center in Rotterdam, Netherlands
17:00 Smart Maritime Council announces support for shipboard machinery data standard
16:23 Damen DOP ensures new approach to dredging – expert opinion
16:00 FSUE Rosmorport to dredge 18.4 million cbm of material in 2020
15:36 Yamal LNG reaches thirty million tons milestone
15:12 MHI-MME receives retractable fin stabilizer orders for two luxury expedition vessels being built by Helsinki Shipyard
14:55 Contract signed for extension of Świnoujście LNG Terminal
14:34 Rosmorrechflot to have 20 dredgers built at Lotos shipyard by 2030
14:12 Kongsberg Maritime wins 300 MNOK contract to equip four new cruise vessels
13:55 EU NAVFOR Somalia supports Djiboutian Coast Guard
13:33 Belarusian-Latvian cooperation in multimodal cargo transportation via Latvian ports discussed in Riga
13:10 Global Offshore announces new addition to its cable installation fleet
12:51 Rosmorport announces tender for dredging on access canal of Temryuk port
12:28 PortNews Media Group and Shipbuilding Cluster of Arkhangelsk Region sign agreement on cooperation
12:10 Contship Italia confirms operational continuity at Group's maritime and intermodal terminals amidst SARS-CoV-2 outbreak
12:07 Milaha reports a 6% increase in net profit for full year 2019
11:29 BIMCO, ICS, INTERCARGO and INTERTANKO launch survey to identify fuel oil issues
11:01 Seaspan agrees to purchase a fleet of four containerships
10:48 Viesturs Zeps elected Chairman of Freeport of Riga Board, Pavels Rebenoks elected Deputy Chairman
10:21 3rd Hydraulic Engineering Structures and Dredging Congress kicks off in Moscow
10:17 MABUX: Bunker market this morning, Feb 26
10:06 GTT receives an order from Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding (Group) Co. Ltd. for the tank design of two new LNG Carriers
09:59 First dredger with ultra-low emissions has arrived in Belgium
09:54 Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port to invest RUB 108.4 billion in development till 2029
09:35 Brent Crude futures price is up 0.65% to $54.61, Light Sweet Crude – up 0.8% to $50.3
09:17 Baltic Dry Index is up to 508 points

2020 February 25

18:06 Maritime world players gather in Antwerp for World Ports Conference 2020