See the letter from C4 to Carnival with Code of Conduct

C4 letter to Carnival

On January 5, C4 Executive Director Carrie Agnew mailed the following letter, along with our Cruise Ship Code of Conduct, to Carnival Cruise Lines President and CEO Gerry Cahill, with copies to each of the independent directors.  It was sent via Certified Mail, and we have received the return receipt. C4 looks forward to hearing Carnival’s response to our requests and will update the website with any reply we receive.

January 5, 2012

Gerry Cahill
President & CEO, Carnival Cruise Lines
3655 N.W. 87th Avenue
Miami,FL 33178-2428

Dear Mr. Cahill

Charleston Communities for Cruise Control is an individual-supported, non-profit organization dedicated to attaining the appropriate balance between cruise ship operations in Charleston, SC and the historic nature and quality of life in the City and residential neighborhoods adjacent to those cruise ship operations.

The factors involved in striking that balance in the small historic center of town include the location of the cruise terminal, traffic congestion, visual scale, acres of parking, size and frequency of cruise ships, air pollution and water discharges. Concern about these various factors and their impact on Charleston has been expressed by The Preservation Society of Charleston, Historic Charleston Foundation, Coastal Conservation League, Historic Ansonborough Neighborhood Association, Charlestowne Neighborhood Association, and editorials in the Post and Courier and the Charleston Mercury. Nationally, concern has been expressed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and, internationally, by the World Monuments Foundation.

We are impressed by many aspects of Carnival’s Sustainability Report issued in December 2010. Carnival says it strives to be a “good corporate citizen” and “a leader in strengthening bonds with our guests, employees and communities”. You aim to “enrich our diverse communities in our home ports” and “preserve the fragile ecosystems upon which we are so dependent”. Specifically, we note that “Carnival uses low-sulfur fuels voluntarily while cruising near environmentally-sensitive as well as historical areas”. We also note that Carnival has adopted a number of environmental practices in Alaska, California and Hawaii that are “not required” in order to “to reduce smog and health pollutants” and “to preserve coastal water quality”. The Report states that you have committed to onshore power for ships calling at Long Beach. Finally, we note you “contribute to the economic growth of the ports in which we operate through the taxes we pay, the jobs we create and the suppliers we support”.

Our question is: how does Charleston fit in this picture?

We have heard nothing positive about low-sulfur fuel, onshore power, air opacity measurement, discharges in our environmentally-sensitive waters or taxes — from Carnival, the South Carolina State Ports Authority or the City of Charleston. We believe these issues must be addressed. Consequently, Charleston Communities for Cruise Control has issued the enclosed Charleston Code of Conduct for Cruise Ships.


(page 2)

The Code of Conduct is not anti-cruise ship, but seeks to fashion operations at a scale consistent with maintaining Charleston as a unique small historic city and asks for treatment consistent with that accorded to certain other ports with respect to environmental considerations and impact taxes or fees. We realize that with respect to total number of cruise ship visits, Carnival would be part of a larger scheme.

We request that you use low-sulfur fuel in port and that you request the SCSPA to make on shore power available in Charleston. We ask that, in the absence of currently applicable taxes, you pay a modest voluntary impact fee. We ask that you not plan to homeport your larger ships in Charleston.

We also ask that you communicate to the SCSPA support for reconsidering the location of the proposed cruise ship terminal in Charleston. There are good alternative sites not directly adjacent to historic neighborhoods that have been suggested but never studied as possibilities. An alternate location could ameliorate many of the issues involved and be preferable for all concerned in the long run. In Boston, the Carnival Glory appears to operate successfully from the Cruiseport in East Boston, two miles from Faneuil Hall.

The SCSPA has said Charleston must accept a cruise ship terminal at Union Pier with its industrial like operations because the City is “not a museum”, yet, at the same time, The SCSPA website says passengers can “step back in time to the eighteenth century” and Carnival’s website calls Charleston a “living museum”.

We want to maintain the Charleston historic district as a place all people, including your passengers, want to visit. We believe that you have the opportunity to display your good corporate citizenship and to strengthen bonds with Charleston communities and look forward to your response and participation.



Carrie W. Agnew
Executive Director


Cc: Sir Jonathon Band
Arnold W. Donald
Pier Luigi Foschi
Richard J. Glasier
Modesto A. Maidique
Sir John Parker
Stuart Subotnick
Laura Weil
Randall J. Weisenburger
Uzi Zucker




The Charleston Tourism Ordinance states that the purpose of tourism regulation is “to maintain, protect and promote the tourism industry and economy of the city and, at the same time, to maintain and protect the tax base and land values of the city, to reduce unnecessary traffic and pollution and to maintain and promote aesthetic charm and the quality of life for the residents of the city.”


Cruise lines must realize that in Charleston their cruise ships docking at Union Pier literally sit at the doorstep of residential neighborhoods and significant historic districts. These neighborhoods and communities deserve to have all visiting cruise ships adhere to the following standards:


1. Cruise ships should respect the traditional height, mass and scale standards of the city. No ships with passenger and crew capacity above 3,000 should regularly visit the city.


2. Cruise ships add to congestion, pollution and visual obstruction. There should be no more than two cruise ships in Charleston during a single week.


3. Charleston is an old city and the air quality impacts not only those living and visiting, but also the buildings themselves. Ships running hotelling engines constantly while in port should connect to onshore power or, if onshore power is not available, should burn low sulfur fuel and request that onshore power be made available to them.


4. Charleston waters deserve respectful treatment. Cruise ships should not discharge gray water or black water or incinerate garbage within twelve miles of shore.


5. Residents of the peninsula area are sensitive to loud noise because it reverberates between buildings. Cruise ships should avoid making external announcements and playing music via external speakers while in port. Cruise ships should not use horns or PA systems more than required by International Maritime Organization safety.


6. Cruise lines are not currently required to pay accommodation or passenger taxes in Charleston unlike other port cities. Cruise lines should voluntarily pay an impact fee of $5 per passenger into a fund for community improvement as a show of respect and appreciation for the maintenance required for upkeep.


7. Cruise ships should support the local Charleston/South Carolina economy by purchasing provisions from local vendors.


8. Trust, but verify. Cruise lines should provide quarterly data about fuel used, discharges made and local purchasing to allow measurement against these standards.




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