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Arctic countries call for regional heavy fuel oil ban at UN shipping talks

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Arctic countries and indigenous communities are calling for a ban on ships burning heavy fuel oil (HFO) in the region, extending a measure already imposed in Antarctica.

Advocates for the ban warn the risk of heavy fuel oil spills is increasing as melting sea ice, linked to climate change, is opening the sensitive environment to seaborne trade.

Heavy fuel oil accounts for around 80% of marine fuel used worldwide and 75% of the fuel carried in the Arctic. More than half the ships crossing the Arctic seas are flagged in non-Arctic countries. 

Russia, one of the biggest shipping players in the Arctic, has not expressed support for the ban, and other big shipping countries outside the region appear resistant any move to close off the emerging route.

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