This summer cruise ships carrying thousands of passengers will sail in Arctic waters and in other vulnerable regions, far from search and rescue facilities, lamented Sian Prior, an advisor to the Clean Arctic Alliance campaign.
The Viking Sky incident carried a “strong risk of an oil spill” after it was reported to be carrying heavy fuel oil (HFO) on board, the Clean Arctic Alliance warned.
An incident like the Viking Sky in the Arctic could create a strong risk of an oil spill, which would be devastating for the environment and local communities.
The Viking Sky was reported to be carrying 343 tonnes of HFO on board, along with 465 tonnes of diesel. This summer, similar cruise ships carrying thousands of passengers will sail in Arctic waters and in other vulnerable regions, far from search and rescue facilities, including helicopters and tugs.
As the Solomon Trader disaster shows, nowhere is safe from oil spills, write Dr Sian Prior, Eelco Leemans and Dave Walsh from the Clean Arctic Alliance.
Comment: As the Solomon Trader Disaster Shows, 30 Years after Exxon Valdez, Nowhere is Safe from Oil Spills – including the Arctic
To mark the 30th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez disaster, the Clean Arctic Alliance comments on recent devastation from HFO spills in Solomon Islands and the Bay of Biscay.
In the interest of transparency, Carnival should release its fuel logs “to show the world it has been, and will continue to be, a leader in getting heavy fuel oil out of this fragile Arctic ecosystem,”
The cruise industry should shine as maritime's beacon for robust environmental stewardship, given its visibility, growth and plentiful coffers, ecologists say.
“With the IMO’s Arctic ban on the use and carriage of heavy fuel oil on the horizon, and measures to reduce black carbon emissions from shipping currently under discussion at the IMO, Carnival’s decision to not use heavy fuel oil lays down a challenge to all Arctic shipping operators. Banning the world’s dirtiest fuel from Arctic shipping is the simplest and easiest way to reduce the risks of long-lasting, damaging oil spills, and will result in a significant reduction in emissions of black carbon, which exacerbates sea ice melt when it settles on snow and ice. Now it’s up to Arctic operators to meet Carnival’s challenge, by making the switch to cleaner fuels.” -Dr. Sian Prior, Lead Advisor to the Clean Arctic Alliance