The IMO has approved a ban on the use of heavy fuel oil in the Arctic region. The move has been criticized by green groups who believe that loopholes will allow many vessels to keep sailing without enough regulatory control. Antarctic waters are protected by stringent regulations, including a ban on heavy oil fuel (HFO) adopted in 2011, even though no cargo moves through. For the Arctic, the rules have been looser. The IMO’s new regulations include exemptions and waivers, which would mean a complete HFO ban would only come into effect in mid-2029. Exemption will apply to ships with oil fuel tanks located inside their double hull. There would also be a provision allowing countries with coastlines bordering Arctic waters to issue waivers to ships flying their flag while they operate there until July 1, 2029.