Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest luxury cruise operator, emitted nearly 10 times more sulphur oxide (SOx) around European coasts than did all 260 million European cars in 2017, according to a new report by the sustainable transport group Transport & Environment.
Spain is the country most exposed to SOx air pollution from all cruise vessels – followed closely by Italy, Greece, France and Norway.
Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca and Venice are the European cities most impacted, followed by Rome and Southampton.
“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 – which is unacceptable.“ says Faig Abbasov, shipping policy manager at Transport & Environment.
NOx emissions from cruise ships in Europe is also heavily impacting some cities – equivalent to 15% of the nitrogen oxide (NOx) emitted by Europe’s passenger car fleet in a year, according to the report.
Along the coasts the Norway, Denmark, Greece, Croatia and Malta just a handful of cruise ships are responsible for more NOx than the majority of the domestic car fleets.
The report recommends extending emission control areas (ECAs) and regulating NOx emissions from existing ships – which are currently exempt from NOx standards in emission control areas.
“There are enough mature technologies to clean up cruise ships,” insists Abbasov.
“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.
“However, the cruise sector appears unwilling to make the shift voluntarily – so we need governments to step in and mandate zero emission standards.”