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Two male protestors standing beside red sign that says Dirty Ship Fuels Are Climate Crimes

Environmental groups hold Arctic protest at IMO pollution talks

PortandTerminal.com, February 17, 2020

LONDON – Environmental campaigners have staged a protest outside the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) headquarters in London, calling on the UN’s international shipping regulator to introduce stricter rules on exhaust pollution from ships.

Protesters from Extinction Rebellion and the Ecohustler web magazine dressed up as chemists and dead polar bears, and accosted delegates attending the IMO’s Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response.

READ: Extinction Rebellion isn’t asking. They’re demanding and putting big oil on notice

The protesters hoped delegates would vote for stricter regulations on heavy fuel oil, a type of fuel widely used by shipping, which has been linked to melting polar ice.

Eleven countries including Denmark, Finland, Norway and the US have proposed a Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) ban on all shipping in Arctic waters except for search and rescue vessels. But those countries also want a five-year delay on some ships, which the environment groups oppose.

READ: A fortress of ice and snow. The Polarstern’s 12-month expedition to the Arctic

Ecohustler spokesman Matt Mellen said to allow the use of the “dirty, dangerous fuels” in the Arctic “beggars belief”.

“The Arctic is changing faster than anywhere due to climate change,” he said. “If world governments are serious about protecting this fragile environment, it can bring about a ban during this week’s meeting.”

The IMO sub-committee meeting this week will consider reducing shipping’s emissions of black carbon.

It will also discuss assessing and harmonising rules and guidance on the discharge of liquid effluents from exhaust gas cleaning systems (scrubbers) into waters.

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