However, this shortcut poses a serious danger to the Arctic's beluga whales. Many large shipping vessels use Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO), which is both toxic and viscous. When HFO spills like the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill occur, the oil does not dissipate, but remains in the marine environment far longer than other fuels. For belugas that return each year to the same estuaries, a large HFO spill could be disastrous for the entire population.
With its partners, EIA has called on the International Maritime Organization to act now and ban the use of heavy fuel oil in the Arctic. Check out our infographic on the impact of HFO and the solutions the IMO should pursue below.