Shipping Company Fined NOK 1 Million For Having Sailed With Heavy Fuel Oil

Sysselmesteren på Svalbard, Lars Fause

Governor on Svalbard, Lars Fause. (Photo: The Governors office)


An Irish shipping company has been fined NOK one million for having sailed one of its ships with heavy fuel oil on board within the territorial waters around Svalbard, which is a breach of the Svalbard Environment Act. In addition, the captain has been fined NOK 30,000.


It was on 6 June 2024 that the Irish cargo ship entered Svalbard's territorial waters, despite the fact that the vessel had heavy fuel oil (HFO) on board, which was established by an inspection carried out by inspectors from the Norwegian Maritime Directorate on the same day.

The governor of Svalbard issued a press release on the matter on Thursday.

According to Svalbardposten, it was the five-year-old Irish cargo ship "Arklow wind" that came from Poland to pick up coal, carrying HFO.

This is a violation of Section 82a of the Svalbard Environment Act, which states that ships calling at Svalbard cannot use or have HFO as a means of transport. The provision applies to the whole of Svalbard and was introduced on 1 January 2022.

First time

For breach of the Svalbard Environment Act § 82a, the Governor of Svalbard has issued a confiscation order against the foreign shipping company of NOK 1,000,000. In addition, the captain of the ship has been fined NOK 30,000.

The fines have not been accepted by the company

It is the first time the Governor has fined a company in connection with a breach of the HFO regulations on Svalbard.

The fines have not been accepted. The shipping company provided a guarantee for the sum of the fine and was thus allowed to sail down from Svalbard on Wednesday evening 12 June.


The main hearing in the case is scheduled for Nord-Troms district court in early October.

From 1 January 2022, it is forbidden for ships calling in the territorial waters around Svalbard to use or have HFO on board. There were transitional rules until 1 January 2024 for vessels traveling with bulk cargoes of coal, or with general cargo transport to or from Longyearbyen and Barentsburg. It states that petroleum-based fuel with a higher viscosity, density or pour point than that permitted for marine gas oil is not permitted. The ban is enshrined in the Svalbard Environment Act.

The purpose is to avoid the release of HFO in the particularly vulnerable waters around Svalbard. HFO is considered difficult to collect and remove. In the event of shipwreck and grounding, the ship's bunker oil is among the most serious problems the authorities have to solve.

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