A new study has found levels of air pollution emitted by Carnival cruise ships are nearly 10 times more than emissions produced by cars.
The study, produced by sustainable transport body Transport & Environment, found that ships owned by the Carnival Corporation travelling along Europe’s coastlines produced nearly 10 times the amount of sulphur dioxide emitted by the 260 million cars on European roads in 2017. Carnival Corporation air pollution was most prevalent in coastal cities in Greece, Italy and Spain, all of which suffer from the combined factors of being high traffic tourist areas and having relatively lax emissions regulations in place.
Transport & Environment’s Shipping Policy Manager Faig Abbasov said: “Luxury cruise ships are floating cities powered by some of the dirtiest fuel possible. Cities are rightly banning dirty diesel cars but they’re giving a free pass to cruise companies that spew out toxic fumes that do immeasurable harm both to those on board and on nearby shores. This is unacceptable. There are enough mature technologies to clean up cruise ships. Shore-side electricity can help cut in-port emissions, batteries are a solution for shorter distances and hydrogen technology can power even the biggest cruise ships. The cruise sector [is] apparently not willing to make the shift voluntarily, so we need governments to step in and mandate zero emission standards.”
Carnival and its subsidiary Princess Cruises were issued a fine of $20m (€17.73m) this week at a hearing in Miami for environmental violations including dumping plastic waste into the ocean. The corporation has been on probation in the US since 2017 for producing – and then attempting to conceal – unlawfully high levels of pollution. Handing down the verdict, US District Judge Patricia Seitz told Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival: “You not only work for employees and shareholders; you are a steward of the environment. The environment needs to be a core value and I hope and pray it becomes your daily anthem.”