Governor of Svalbard wants total ban on heavy fuel oil

In 2007 the Norwegian Government imposed a ban on the use of Heavy Fuel Oil onboard ships inside the two large nature reserves covering most of the territorial waters of eastern Svalbard. Photo: Arne Nævra, Scanpix / Government.no

In 2007 the Norwegian Government imposed a ban on the use of Heavy Fuel Oil onboard ships inside the two large nature reserves covering most of the territorial waters of eastern Svalbard. Photo: Arne Nævra, Scanpix / Government.no

Per Sefland, the Norwegian Governor of Svalbard wants a ban on the use and carriage of heavy fuel oil on ships around the archipelago, reports The Barents Observer

“Svalbard does not have the equipment to handle any ecological disasters like a large-scaled oil spill,” Sefland says to Svalbardposten. He says It is problematic to expand the existing stand-by capacities and therefore we must concentrate on preventing ecological catastrophes before they happen.

One of the measures Sefland suggests is to ban the use of heavy oil in the whole of the Svalbard area. The use of heavy oil is banned at two natural reserves on the eastern side of the archipelago, and it has been suggested to expand the ban to yet another three reserves on the western side. Governor Sefland is skeptical to applying restrictions to only certain areas.

If a serious accident was to happen in the waters outside Svalbard, it could take as much as two days for personnel and equipment to arrive from the mainland. Having personnel cleaning the shores after an accident is not practical on Svalbard, Sefland explains.

Read more on Barentsobserver.com

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