Heavy Fuel Oil: A great risk to the Arctic

Heavy Fuel Oil: A great risk to the Arctic

Heavy fuel oil (HFO) is a highly viscous (very thick – think tar or blackstrap molasses) residual oil. On land it is classified as hazardous waste. And because heavy fuel oil is a waste product, it is a very cheap fuel for the shipping industry. Using HFO to power ships in the Arctic is a disaster in waiting.

In fact, the International Maritime Organization has already banned ships from using heavy fuel oil 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.

That’s why Stand.earth is fighting to keep heavy fuel oil out of the delicate and imperiled Arctic waters. HFO risks are especially problematic when coupled with the threat of cruise ships in the Arctic. 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, and spew greenhouse gases and ice-melting black carbon throughout this otherwise pristine ecosystem.

A recently published analysis showed that Carnival Corporation ships carried the largest amount of heavy fuel oil into the fragile ecosystem of the Arctic of any cruise line operator, with over 11 and a half million tons onboard. That’s three times the amount of the next highest operator. Heavy fuel oil presents such a high risk in polar environments that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has already banned it in the Antarctic and is moving forward with a similar ban in the Arctic. But while the IMO regulatory process can take years, Carnival does not need to wait to be forced to stop using HFO. It can decide to use cleaner fuels in its global fleet today.

The Carnival Corporation with its 10 total brands must step up and take responsibility for minimizing its impacts on the beautiful places its clients are paying to see. We’re asking Carnival to clean up its #DirtyShips and stop burning hazardous heavy fuel oil in the Arctic.

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