Prevalence of heavy fuel oil and black carbon in Arctic Shipping, 2015 to 2025

Dwindling sea ice is opening new shipping routes through the Arctic, with shipping activity expected to increase with oil and gas development and as ships take advantage of shorter trans-Arctic routes from Asia to Europe and North America. However, with increased shipping comes an increased risk of accidents, oil spills, and air pollution. Potential spills of heavy fuel oil (HFO) and emissions of black carbon (BC) are of particular concern for the Arctic. Heavy fuel oil poses a substantial threat to the Arctic environment because it is extremely difficult to recover once spilled and the combustion of HFO emits BC, a potent air pollutant that accelerates climate change.

This report estimates HFO use, HFO carriage, the use and carriage of other fuels, BC emissions, and emissions of other air and climate pollutants in the Arctic for the year 2015, with projections to 2020 and 2025. Particular attention is paid to ships in the Arctic as defined by the International Maritime Organization (the IMO Arctic), as ships in this region can be subject to additional environmental regulations under the IMO’s Polar Code.

The full report can be downloaded here.