"John Kaltenstein, marine policy analyst at Friends of the Earth, issued the following response:
Unrestricted and weakly regulated shipping in the Arctic paints a grim outlook for fragile polar environments and for efforts to combat climate-forcing emissions such as black carbon. In just two months, the U.S. will assume the chair of the Arctic Council -- the intergovernmental forum for Arctic governments and peoples -- and it will have an opportunity to push for stronger protections in the Arctic, including a ban on the use of heavy fuel oil. The Arctic requires protection from noxious emissions and the possibility of more frequent heavy fuel and oil spills. The International Council on Clean Transportation’s findings further validate the need for cleaner fuel use. The U.S. has a responsibility to the Arctic -- and to the world -- to protect these unique polar ecosystems and the people and wildlife that reside in the region."
“Ships trading in designated emission control areas will have to use on board fuel oil with a sulphur content of no more than 0.10% from 1 January 2015, against the limit of 1.00% in effect up until 31 December 2014.”
“Outside the emission control areas, the current limit for sulphur content of fuel oil is 3.50%, falling to 0.50% m/m on and after 1 January 2020.”
That is absolutely great for environmental and more immediately for human health reasons but this good news could be in danger of amounting, quite literally to… sweeping under the rug (in this case hiding the smog under the ocean):
‘Ships may also meet the SOx requirements by using gas as a fuel or an approved equivalent method, for example, exhaust gas cleaning systems or “scrubbers”’