A multi-stakeholder assessment on shipping risk governance: A case study on the proposed ban on the use and carriage of heavy fuel oil by ships in the Arctic.
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Global interest in Arctic shipping is increasing as a result of melting sea ice and climate change. The potential risks of increased emissions, oil spills, and noise pollution can substantially affect coastal communities and commercial entities living and working in the Arctic. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is the intergovernmental body that enables regulations on international shipping activities and is intending to ban Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) in the Arctic. The IMO uses the Formal Safety Assessment (FSA) as a systematic cost-benefit assessment process to evaluate the risks associated with maritime safety and marine environmental protection and the cost-effectiveness of risk control options. The aim of the study is threefold: to assess the application of guiding principles, as described by the International Organization of Standardization 31000 Guidelines, in the IMO risk management process on marine environmental protection issues; to understand the rationale behind developing the ban on HFO in regards to the FSA; and to assess how stakeholders frame the risk problem of an HFO spill in the Arctic. The research analyzes and evaluates these three components of risk management (principles, method, and pre-assessment framing) to give an assessment on how they might affect high-level risk governance of shipping issues. Results show variance in application of principles in the IMO risk management process, befuddlement concerning the HFO ban development and methods used, and variance in how the risk problem was framed at the IMO. In order to proactively govern for emerging maritime and environmental risks due to increased shipping in the Arctic, this study discusses recommendations to address the resulting issues. Keywords: maritime shipping, Arctic, heavy fuel oil, IMO, Formal Safety Assessment, risk governance, risk management