International Regulation of Heavy Fuel Oil Use by Vessels in Arctic Waters

In: The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law


The use and carriage of heavy fuel oil (HFO) as fuel by vessels in Arctic waters present unique challenges to the fragile marine environment and vulnerable Arctic communities. Discussions on the regulation of HFO use in Arctic waters have undergone several transformations, from strong resistance by several states before and during the negotiations of the Polar Code, to stalemate, to reluctant evaluation of options, before the emergence of a potential mandatory ban. An HFO ban is expected to be adopted by the International Maritime Organization in 2021 at the earliest. This article examines the formation, development and application of the ban on HFO use by vessels in Arctic waters, and discusses the potential effectiveness of the ban.