The fragile and increasingly ice-free waters of the Arctic are expected to benefit from tougher environmental rules likely to be passed this week when an international body holds a final vote on northern shipping regulations.
But environmental groups at the meeting of the International Maritime Organization in London say that the proposed measures for the Polar Code still leave significant gaps.
“It’s a big step forward but there’s a ways to go,” said Kevin Harun of Pacific Environment, a U.S.-based group that has been part of the talks.
What they don’t do is ban the use of heavy fuel oil, Harun said.
“It’s thick, viscous, dirty, persistent, doesn’t evaporate and would be a real disaster if there was a spill. They haven’t dealt with that at all.”