, Clean Arctic Alliance hail IMO move to ban heavy fuel oil from Arctic shipping, Clean Arctic Alliance hail IMO move to ban heavy fuel oil from Arctic shipping

Carnival Stop Polluting The Climate - AIR POLLUTION SHIP RANKING 2017LONDON —, a member of the Clean Arctic Alliance international coalition, today applauded progress by International Maritime Organization Member States toward banning use of the world’s dirtiest fuel — heavy fuel oil — from Arctic shipping. urged Member States to make every effort to adopt and rapidly implement a ban by 2021, as proposed by eight Member States and supported by other countries during the meeting.

Plans to develop a ban on heavy fuel oil (HFO) from Arctic shipping, along with an assessment of the impact of such a ban, were agreed upon during the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC72), which closed today in London. The meeting directed a sub-committee (PPR6) to develop a ban on heavy fuel oil use and carriage for use by ships in the Arctic, “on the basis of an assessment of the impacts” and “on an appropriate timescale” [1].

“Arctic communities and ecosystems will be protected from the threat of oil spills and the impact of soot emissions on accelerated sea ice melt, thanks to the inspired and motivated action taken by a number of Member States to move toward a ban on heavy fuel oil,” said Kendra Ulrich, Senior Shipping Campaigner with “Ending the use of heavy fuel oil in the Arctic waters is the most effective way to avoid the environmental threats it poses to this fragile ecosystem.”

“It may take several years for the full adoption and implementation of the heavy fuel oil ban at the IMO. Industry actors that use heavy fuel oil, such as cruise industry giant Carnival Corporation, are not bound to these same diplomatic timelines. They can and must follow the lead of the IMO and act now to end their use of the world’s dirtiest fossil fuel,” said Ulrich.

The 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 US [2]. This, along with a proposal to assess the impact of such ban on Arctic communities proposed by Canada, was supported by Denmark — the sixth Arctic nation to back the ban — along with Australia, Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Ireland, Japan, the League of Arab States, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK.

“I am grateful that IMO has advanced a ban on HFO to help protect Arctic communities and our traditional way of life. For thousands of years we have relied on our pristine waters and wildlife – and now the IMO has taken this important step to help protect our people and environment,” said Verner Wilson, an Alaskan and Clean Arctic Alliance member. Wilson is the Senior Oceans Campaigner for Friends of the Earth US, and a member of Curyung Tribal Council. He has Yupik family roots in the Bering Strait region between Russia and the US.

Despite actors in the shipping sector pushing for other risk mitigation options in an effort continue use of heavy fuel oil, there is widespread support for banning HFO in the Arctic. In stark contrast to Carnival, which is installing scrubbers to meet stricter fuel standards that aim to reduce sulphur oxides (SOx) emissions rather than switching to cleaner fuels from dirty HFO, the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO) supports banning HFO use in the Arctic. The Norwegian Shipowners Association and icebreaker company Arctia have also expressed their support for a ban.

The IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee also approved a draft plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the shipping sector.

“While not as ambitious as it could be, the greenhouse gas reduction strategy is a positive step down the path to addressing the shipping industry’s significant climate footprint. It is clear that continuing to burn a fossil fuel so dirty it is classified as hazardous waste on land is incompatible with addressing the urgent and immediate climate crisis,” said Kendra Ulrich, Senior Shipping Campaigner with

“The shipping industry must end its use of heavy fuel oil, starting with the Arctic and sub-Arctic. urges Carnival cruises and its ten subsidiaries to show it can live up to the environmental image it portrays. It is past time for Carnival to end its use of heavy fuel oil and lead the way toward the clean shipping future,” said Ulrich.


[1] In addition to assessing the impact of a ban on communities and developing a ban on HFO use and carriage as fuel in the Arctic, the Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR) meeting PPR 6, which will be held in February 2019 will develop a definition of HFO taking into account regulation 43 of MARPOL Annex I (the Antarctic HFO ban) and prepare a set of guidelines on mitigation measures to reduce risks of use and carriage of HFO as fuel by ships in Arctic waters.

[2] The proposal, Development Of Measures to Reduce Risks Of Use and Carriage Of Heavy Fuel Oil as Fuel By Ships in Arctic Waters: Proposal to ban heavy fuel oil use and carriage as fuel by ships in Arctic waters, was submitted by Finland, Germany, Iceland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the United States. The text includes:

“A single HFO spill could have devastating and lasting effects on fragile Arctic marine and coastal environments. In addition, Arctic shipping is projected to continue to rise, thus increasing the risk of a spill. For these reasons, the ban on HFO should be implemented as soon as possible, and any delay in implementation of the HFO ban by eligible ships should be short-lived… The co-sponsors propose that the implementation date of the ban be set for no later than the end of 2021.”


Media contacts: 
Virginia Cleaveland, Press Secretary,,, 510-858-9902 (PDT)
Kendra Ulrich, Senior Shipping Campaigner,, +44 7586 049670  (London GMT +1/PDT +8)

Arctic and Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO): Learnings from the Sanchi Oil Tanker Disaster

Arctic and Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO): Learnings from the Sanchi Oil Tanker Disaster

On Jan 6th, a Panamanian-flagged Iranian crude oil tanker, the Sanchi, crashed into a Chinese freighter ship, the CF Crystal, in open waters off the coast of Shanghai. The Sanchi used HFO to power its engines and was carrying a cargo of 136,000 tons (approximately 40 million gallons or over 60 Olympic swimming pools) of a type of ultra-light, highly flammable crude oil called condensate. The tanker burned for over week, and finally exploded and sank beneath the waves on January 14th. All 32 crew members were lost.

In addition to the tragic loss of human life, the ecological disaster continues to unfold—and may continue to threaten human and environmental health for years to come. This is the largest spill of condensate in history—perhaps the largest tanker spill in 35 years–and no one is completely certain what the consequences will be.

No one knows how much HFO may be leaking from the sunken Sanchi tanker, but researchers are concerned about the potential long-term impacts. In the event of an accident, this thick hazardous waste oil is not only toxic to marine life but persists in the environment for a very long time. It is likely that the fuel tanks will continue to slowly leak over a long period of time, potentially causing significant localized impacts.

Many fish species are highly sensitive to reproductive and other abnormalities from the compounds in HFO (such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs) —and the area where the Sanchi sank includes important spawning and wintering grounds for commercially important species, such as Bluefin leatherjacket, sword tip squid, and chub mackerel, among others. It’s also in the migratory pathway of marine mammals like humpback and right whales. 

Very little of the Sanchi’s oil has been recovered, but regardless of weather, there is no effective response to an oil tanker disaster. A typical recovery rate of conventional crude spilled in a marine environment—where it floats on water and evaporates more slowly than condensate—is around 10 to 15% of the crude spilled. In the Arctic, the response gap for oil spills means that much of the time any recovery at all is impossible. That means a spill of toxic petroleum products like HFO will impact the environment for years afterward.

In fact, the International Maritime Organization has already banned ships from using HFO in the Antarctic because of the risk to these delicate ecosystems with such harsh, unforgiving weather. And compared to the Antarctic, there are far more shipping routes in the Arctic.

Even without a tragedy like the Sanchi oil tanker disaster, burning HFO to power ships poses a serious and immediate threat to the Arctic environment. When burned, HFO not only releases large amounts of global warming causing greenhouse gases (GHGs) but also releases large amounts of soot, also called black carbon. Soot is particularly problematic in places like the Arctic, where it settles on Arctic sea ice. Because soot retains heat, rather than reflecting solar radiation back out to space the way white sea ice does, it accelerates the rate at which the ice in the Arctic is melting. Black carbon is responsible for 7-21% of shipping’s climate warming impact. 

That’s why is fighting to keep HFOs out of the delicate and imperiled Arctic waters.

HFO risks are especially problematic when juxtaposed with the threat of cruise ships in the Arctic, which provide no value outside of recreation.  While cruisers are going on Arctic voyages to appreciate the unique environment and wildlife found only there, the very ships they sail on are burning the most dangerous possible fuel for that same ecosystem, while spewing greenhouse gases and ice-melting black carbon throughout this otherwise pristine environment.

The cruise industry must step up and take responsibility for minimizing its impacts on the beautiful places its clients are paying to see. We’re asking the largest cruise ship company in the world, Carnival Corporation with its 10 total brands, to clean up its #DirtyShips and stop burning hazardous HFOs in the Arctic.

Join us in asking Carnival to clean up its act. Sign our petition here.

Campaign against Carnival Cruise Lines Escalates

Campaign against Carnival Cruise Lines Escalates

Seattle WA — Today at Seattle’s cruise ship terminal, climate activists exposed Carnival Corporation’s climate pollution with a colorful action. The action involved large banners that read “Clean Up Carnival” and activists dressed as dolphins and polar bears interacting with passengers. Spearheaded by Washington-based and Seattle 350, the action is part of the escalating campaign against Carnival Corporation, the largest cruise company in the world. The campaign challenges the company to protect the climate by reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and its use of dirty fuels.

Carnival’s climate pollution has increased 20% over the past decade because it powers its ships with the dirtiest fuel in the world, Heavy Fuel Oil. In 2015 alone, Carnival and its fleet of ships produced the equivalent of greenhouse gas emissions from driving almost 2.2 million cars for one year. On a per passenger basis, each Carnival passenger produces almost 2,111 pounds of CO2 per trip in 2015, or the equivalent of greenhouse gas emissions from driving a car 2,295 miles.

“While much of the world grapples with how to reduce climate pollution, Carnival continues to increase its climate footprint at a dizzying rate,” said Sean Rudolph of “Carnival’s disregard of the need for climate stability feels especially ironic given that Carnival ferries its passengers to iconic environmental wonders around the world, such as the Arctic, which are directly threatened by it’s irresponsible pollution.”

The shipping and cruise industry currently account for nearly 3% of global carbon dioxide emissions and is on track to increase emissions between 50 and 250 percent in the next 35 years, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Part of the reason for the industry’s massive climate pollution footprint is because most ships are powered by the dirtiest fuel in the world. This fuel, called Heavy Fuel Oil, is so dirty that on land it’s considered a hazardous waste.

The use of Heavy Fuel Oil is permitted for use at sea despite the fact that:

  • Heavy Fuel Oil spills are impossible to clean up when there is an accident;
  • Exhaust from burning Heavy Fuel Oil causes cancer and other
cardiovascular diseases and it is responsible for the premature deaths of tens
of thousands of people every year; and
  • Heavy Fuel Oil exhaust contains black carbon which contributes to
global warming. Almost 50% of the warming within the Arctic is attributed to
black carbon.

That’s why Seattle and are pushing Carnival to commit to cleaning up its dirty ships. Upcoming actions will feature youth environmental ambassadors from Plant for the Planet interacting with cruise passengers, Mosquito Fleet kayaktivists organizing to surround ships, and actions to educate an Oprah-branded cruise to Alaska., formerly ForestEthics, challenges corporations and governments to put the health and well-being of people and the environment first, because all of our lives depend on it. For more information, visit

CONTACT: Kendra Ulrich,, Senior Shipping Campaigner –

Carnival uses the dirtiest fuel on earth – Heavy Fuel Oil

Carnival uses the dirtiest fuel on earth – Heavy Fuel Oil

Carnival Pollution GraphicCarnival Cruise Lines’ massive ships carry tens of thousands of passengers to some of the most beautiful destinations in the world. But lurking under its all-you-eat buffets, entertainment, and deck side pools lies a dirty secret: Its boats are powered by the dirtiest fuel on the planet – heavy fuel oil.

Here’s the dirt on heavy fuel oil:

  • Spills are impossible to clean up if there’s an accident due to its high viscosity.
  • Its exhaust causes cancer and other cardiovascular diseases, making it responsible for ten of thousands of premature deaths every year.
  • Burning heavy fuel oil creates black carbon, a huge contributor to global warming and the melting of the Arctic sea ice.

This summer, Carnival is partnering with high profile celebrities like Oprah Winfrey for what will likely be Carnival’s biggest Seattle-to-Alaska cruise season ever. And will be there every step of the way to call on Carnival to stop using the dirtiest fuel on the planet.

Help ban Heavy Fuel Oil use in the Arctic. Tweet at Carnival and urge them to take a simple step by freeing the Arctic of their heavy oil.

Carnival: Stop Dogging the Climate

Carnival: Stop Dogging the Climate

Clean Up Carnival - Investigative report calls on Carnival to stop polluting the climate.Last week, Carnival, the world’s largest cruise company, was at the Westminster Dog Show to promote its luxury cruise brand, called the Cunard Line. activists were right there too, crashing the event to spread the word about the massive amounts of pollution created by Carnival’s ships.

Over the past decade, Carnival has increased its climate pollution by nearly 20%. While other industries are reducing their climate pollution, Carnival and the shipping industry are among the fastest growing sources of climate pollution and will account for nearly 20% of global climate pollution by 2050. In fact, Carnival’s fleet of ships produces as much climate pollution as 2.2 million cars, (roughly the number of cars registered in New York City.) That’s not good for anyone, including our four-legged friends at Westminster.

As the largest and most profitable cruise company in the world, Carnival has both the means and the responsibility to end its climate pollution.’s campaign to hold Carnival and the cruise industry accountable for polluting the climate is just getting started and with help from activists like yourself we look forward to pushing Carnival to clean up its act.