The on-going reduction of sea-ice in the Arctic is now facilitating maritime activities in areas previously considered inaccessible. Numerous statistics indicate that fishing and tourism are clearly gaining momentum within the wider region under discussion. Furthermore, a certain number of private companies and state-affiliated actors are setting into motion plans for promoting the use of the so-called arctic passages, while certain interesting business projects are already underway; the Yamal LNG Project is for example clearly standing out. As human presence and operations are expected to intensify within that inherently risky region, the first aim of this paper is to qualitatively identify certain business opportunities associated with the Arctic and then highlight their interrelation with the prevailing patterns of maritime traffic. Additionally, on the basis of the report titled ‘Arctic Shipping Status Report – Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) Use by Ships in the Arctic 2019' (ASSR #2) that was released during October 2020 by the Arctic Council's Working Group on the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME), it explains the use of the various types of fuels in the region under discussion and highlights certain environmental risks. Finally, it briefly assesses the overall effectiveness of a (proposed) regulatory intervention of completely banning the use of HFO in the Arctic. This initiative can indeed have a positive contribution to protecting the region's pristine environment, but any regulations of this type must also consider the issue of fishing vessels, which are not covered under the scope of International Maritime Organization's (IMO) International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).
Bibliographical notePublished online: 01 August 2023.
- Maritime traffic
- Heavy fuel oil (HFO) ban
- International maritime organization (IMO)