Norway’s remote northern archipelago of Svalbard will largely be closed to cruise ship passengers after 1 January 2015 as the final stage of the heavy fuel oil ban takes effect. The regulation was originally introduced in 2007 for much of the area. The temporary exemptions in place for Magdalena Bay and Ny Alesund expire at the end of the year. From that date no ship carrying (not just burning) heavy fuel oil will be permitted within the confines of the national parks, effectively leaving just a single access point to Spitsbergen, the largest island of the archipelago, at Longyearbyen. The area will largely become the preserve of the small expedition ships, many of which, by the nature of where they sail, already use the lighter marine diesel fuel.

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