Archive for May 2012

A response to “Cruise Critics Miss Boat”: “Regulate cruise tourism in Charleston” by Jay Williams in P&C-

Regulate cruise tourism in Charleston, P&C, May 21, 2012, Commentary, JAY WILLIAMS. 

It’s not about the past.
Those favoring unregulated cruise ship tourism for Charleston want to discuss everything but facts.

A recent article from two writers affiliated with the S.C. Waterfront Alliance resorted to a standard theme — they attacked their opponents. They charged the Historic Charleston Foundation with using “beyond bizarre accusations about Charleston’s maritime industry” and belittled residents of Ansonborough, calling their concerns about cruise ship noise and questions about height regulations on the 14-deck ships “laughable.” That was before these advocates advanced their own laughable assertion, “The cruise industry is an environmentally friendly, clean, and well-regulated industry.” Tell that to the survivors of the sunken Carnival-owned “Costa Concordia” or residents of Charleston breathing toxic bunker fuel from cruise ships — fuel so dirty it’s banned on land.

The proponents also reprised their straw man sham that some “organizations” desire to “regulate shipping.” Codswallop. Nobody wants to “regulate shipping.” Cargo ships don’t disgorge thousands of passengers onto downtown streets; cruise ships do. If other tourism is regulated, why not cruise tourism?

 

But the facts are not favorable to cruise boosters, so they emote about history, “neighborhoods built by ship captains” and “the founding of the Charlestown colony.” But the present and future are what matter.

The modern cruise industry began just 40 years ago when Carnival Cruise Lines began. Since then, Carnival has grown to 100 ships with a 2009 profit of $1.8 billion. Global cruise industry growth has doubled in the past decade — from 9.7 to 18.8 million passengers annually through 2010. Carnival’s revenues increased another 8 percent in 2011 and may grow 6 percent more this year.

The “Fantasy,” the ship home-ported in Charleston, carries 2,056 passengers, but it’s the oldest ship in Carnival’s fleet. Newer ships are bigger. The “Dream” — heralding Carnival’s newest class of vessels — is 1,004 feet long, carries 3,646 passengers and 1,367 crew. They are virtual cities — with bars, “shopping streets,” spas, casinos, upscale restaurants, kids’ activities, “meet and greet” clubs. If everything is on board, why spend money on land?

So they don’t. The recent Miley & Associates study shattered the illusion that home-ported cruise ships bring millions into the local economy. “Fantasy” passengers spend only $66 vs. $718 a day for traditional tourists. Charleston doesn’t make a dime from taxes or passenger fees; local farms don’t make money either — the ships are provisioned from Carnival’s big hub in Florida. And most passengers don’t stay in Charleston but in North Charleston budget hotels that provide free weekly parking and shuttles to the ship. One urban expert calls cruises the “strip mine of tourism.”

Cruise tourism isn’t the only tourism that’s exploding in Charleston. After this year, Bridge Run organizers were forced to cap next year’s participants at 40,000. And Fort Sumter tour boats that normally ferry 200,000 passengers a year carried a record 328,000 tourists last year; passengers are up another 11 percent this year. Almost 4 million visitors will come to Charleston in 2012.

So where are all these tourists going? The horses aren’t taking those carriages to the Citadel Mall. Evan Thompson, executive director of the Preservation Society, cautions that historic Charleston “is not unlike a rare pristine rainforest; only so many people can trample through without damaging it.”

Yet the proponents of unregulated cruise ship tourism, the State Ports Authority and the mayor, dismiss the facts. They remain defiant to every suggestion to mitigate cruise ship impacts on our economy’s “golden goose,” the Historic District and downtown.

Cruise boosters have rejected any legal limits on the size and number of cruise ships. They’ve blocked shoreside power, refused to consider alternative cruise terminal locations, and ignored the costs of cruise ship tourism — even after witnessing the terrible damage to Venice, Italy; Key West, Fla.; Dubrovnik, Croatia and other cities.

What will happen to the economic engine of the region, the Historic District, when residents and traditional tourists tire of the traffic, congestion, and the “Disney-effect” of cruise ship tourism? What if they begin to feel a decline in their “Charleston experience”?

If we can’t do it today, how can Charleston rein in a growing $30 billion-a-year cruise industry once we’ve handed it a $35 million berth in the heart of downtown?

If you care about Charleston’s economic or historic future, the proposed SPA-Union Pier terminal must never be built. But if you’re interested in history, reread the tale of the Trojan Horse.

Jay Williams Jr.., a radio broadcasting consultant, is a member of the Charlestowne Neighborhood Association and the Charleston Communities for Cruise Control (C4), which hosts his blogs at CharlestonCruiseControl.org.

 

Stay home, Joe- A letter to P&C’s editor from President and CEO of Historic Savannah Foundation: “Charleston can still fix its mistakes with cruise ships, and Savannah can avoid them altogether.”

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Post and Courier, May 20, 2012. 

Stay home, Joe

On May 10 Mayor Joe Riley was in Savannah touting the benefits of cruise ships. In his remarks to the Downtown Business Association he said that having a year-round home port for a cruise ship has “worked out very well” and “for a port city to have a cruise ship port is a natural.”

The question is for whom?

Has it worked out well for the residents of downtown who have been forced to sue just to establish reasonable limits and ground rules for these behemoths?

Is it natural for 2,500 people to be spit out onto the streets “with time and money in their pockets”?

Does that somehow improve livability for residents?

Who is tracking how much and where that money is spent? Who is measuring the impacts?

As Savannah considers courting the cruise ship in­dustry, I hope we give it more scrutiny than did Charleston.

A May 12 editorial in the Savannah Morning News rec­ognized that Tybee Island, our quirky and charming beach town, is suffering from “too much love.”

Agreed.

When something special is loved to death by squeezing every last penny out of it until it’s exhausted, then we’ve done wrong by making selfish and short-sighted decisions.

Charleston can still fix its mistakes with cruise ships, and Savannah can avoid them altogether.

In the meantime, Joe, please peddle your opinions else­where.

DANIEL G. CAREY President and CEO Historic Savannah Foundation E. York Street Savannah, Ga.

Cruise ships and putting lipstick on pigs- a Charleston Mercury editorial

Cruise ships and putting lipstick on pigs, Charleston Mercury, May 16, 2012 (online), editorial.  

The cruise ship debate continues with vigor, and we welcome the opportunity to connect some dots and stress the importance of the site of the new terminal. However, we scratch our heads when we read about “cruise ship opponents” in various local media. Those concerned about the cruise ships come at the issue from many different and valid perspectives. They are not “opponents”; rather, they are “critics” and are not monolithic. Many want cruise ships, but under varying circumstances. This is not an “either/or” issue for most citizens.

With a recent op-ed in the Post and Courier, Historic Charleston Foundation has put on a muscular attitude as a critic, joining others in this noble effort. In particular, we urge all critics to find out why the S.C. State Ports Authority is so bold to call a proposed terminal site at Columbus Street a “non-starter.” This is the big game changer issue because putting lipstick on a pig does not change the fact that it is a pig. The current and S.P.A.-proposed new terminal will keep the “pigs” in clear view of those on the harbor, in the Holy City or from other vantage points in Mt. Pleasant or James Island. The massive ships dominate the city skyline from the current terminal. They do not seek a ransom as did Blackbeard in 1718, but the cruise ships overshadow Charleston’s subtle character and seek tribute in the form of a new terminal that is not located far enough up the Cooper River toward the Ravenel Bridge.

We have heard many times about Charleston’s history as a port city, but the masts and rigging of vessels of yesteryear cannot be compared to the footprint of the chunky mega “funships” of today. The ships of olden days had no loud speakers and waterslides.

In terms of geography, as shipping changed, wharves moved north and evolved into the multi-terminal system of today. At the same time, waterfront real estate prices have increased exponentially. The leisure shipping element is small compared to the whole, but it makes a big splash in the public eye because of where the passengers embark and debark; hence, the issue is really about the placement of the terminal.

 

As we have said many times, we could handle a substantial number of visits from cruise ships if we placed the terminal in the right locale. Tourists could disperse from a terminal near Columbus St. in more than one direction and by a variety of transportation methods, avoiding the choke point on East Bay St. and letting the greater community market amenities to cruise passengers instead of making it all about immediate gratification within a stone’s throw of our fragile downtown neighborhoods. CARTA buses or a special train could bring passengers to a variety of places, particularly a nifty spot on Concord St. in close walking distance of The Market. Others might take cabs or buses to North Charleston or Mt. Pleasant; some might walk to new attractions built on the Eastside for cruise passengers.

Recall that the announcements from the cruise ships are truly obnoxious and even saying farewell to loved ones at funerals is no longer sacrosanct. Any graveside service at St. Philip’s, the Huguenot Church, St. Stephen’s and others will run the risk of loud squawking interfering with hearing prayers from the clergy.

Cruise critics are not giving up, and they are not a small sector of the society. After all, some of those critics include this newspaper, the Post and Courier, the City Paper, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Preservation Society of Charleston, Historic Charleston Foundation and the Coastal Conservation League. Eventually, cooler heads will see the positive results that would come from the key policy shifts suggested by those who want Charleston to prosper and retain its historic character.

 

 

The future isn’t what it used to be- a guest editorial by Jay Williams in Charleston Mercury: “The array of evidence presented during the past year allows for only one conclusion.”

The future isn’t what it used to be, Charleston Mercury, May 16, 2012, editorial. 

Mayor Joseph Riley and supporters of an unregulated cruise ship terminal at Union Pier advanced their key arguments during a hearing conducted last month by the federal Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management.

The “we-know-better” argument went like this: “I was born in Charleston, my family has worked on the docks for years … and you got here late.” Or, “This has been a maritime city for 300 years…” This argument would be terrific if the maritime traffic and the ships were remotely the same as 300 years ago. Or even 30 years ago. But ships today don’t look like the Spirit of South Carolina. And, cruise ships have nothing in common with cargo shipping except that both ships float.

Cruise ships have thousands of passengers who must be accommodated and managed; cargo ships don’t.

The modern cruise industry was born just 40 years ago when Carnival Cruise Lines was formed. Carnival’s promise to “give the passenger a fun-filled vacation at a price they can afford” revolutionized the industry. Unlike the “past,” today’s cruise ships are carefully constructed floating cities, carefully designed to capture passengers’ interest, attention and money — beginning with the lobby bar up to the top deck spa, with casinos, upscale restaurants, “shopping streets,” pools, waterslides, nightclubs, live shows, music and more beckoning from every deck in between.

 

Sure, there were passenger ships 100 years ago, but they were tiny compared to Carnival’s 100-ship fleet. The Titanic, the largest ship afloat in 1912, weighed 46,000 tons, had 9 decks, and was 882 feet long. Compare that to the Carnival Fantasy, home-ported in Charleston and one of Carnival’s smallest ships: 70,367 tons, 14 decks, 855 feet long. But the Fantasy is Carnival’s oldest ship. The newer Carnival Dream-class of ships is far larger: 130,000 tons, 1004 feet long with 3,646 passengers and crew of 1,367.

Somehow Mayor Riley had the temerity to say, “It is the same business, the same cruise activity, that is currently going on in Charleston.” It’s not “the same business.” The cruise industry grew eight percent in 2011 and will grow another six percent this year! The cruise industry is like nothing from the past — new ships are vastly larger in size and scale. As Boeing’s new 787 “Dreamliner” dwarfs the old 707, ever-larger cruise ships should only be expected here, especially with the widening of the Panama Canal.

Let’s turn this line of discussion on its head. Charleston could put the cruise terminal anywhere — almost 50 percent of the South Carolina State Ports Authority terminal space is unused or underused. So why would any historic city risk building a cruise terminal downtown after witnessing the environmental damage already done by cruise ship terminals near the hearts of Venice, Key West and other cities?

What about the “Jobs Argument?” No one actually said, “Jobs, not snobs,” but they came close. The reality is that there will be just as many jobs — likely more — if the terminal were moved north to Columbus Street or to the Veterans Terminal. And any economic benefits from cruise ships would be increased. Why? Because there the demands for regulations and controls would be reduced — the larger ships could come in without damaging historic Charleston or displacing other tourists. The “Jobs Argument” is specious.

There was the nonsensical “no-soot argument.” “I work with 85 percent of the cruise ships that come in here, and I park my white truck right next to them. It never gets soot on it.” Perhaps, sir, that’s because the top deck of the ship rises 130 feet above the water — and the Fantasy’s tail — where the soot belches out — rises still higher. Do cruise ship passengers get soot on them? No. But that soot — with heavy carcinogen-laden particles — drifts over Ansonborough. Park your white truck there.

There was the “it’s only a one-berth terminal” argument. That’s not true, either. The pier at Union Pier is 1,800 feet. You now know that the Fantasy is 855 feet long. You do the math. Apparently no one else can.

And, finally, consider the argument of “Five pilings are all we’re talking about.” Five pilings didn’t bring 200 people out during their dinner hour. The new ship terminal would be far bigger than the older one, facilitating an increasing, uncontrollable level of cruise ship traffic and tourism that, on top of traditional tourism, will overrun Charleston’s geographically limited space and resources to handle.

The proponents didn’t mention the recently released Miley & Associates study on Charleston cruise ship tourism. That study shatters the illusion that home-ported cruise ship tourism brings millions into the local economy: Fantasy cruise passengers spend just $66 a day vs. $718 a day for traditional tourists. Worse, the Fantasy is not provisioned locally, but from Florida, and most of the passengers who spend a night before boarding go to less expensive North Charleston motels that give them free weekly parking and a shuttle to their “Fun Ship.” Cruisers come to Charleston mostly to sail away and spend their money elsewhere.

The array of evidence presented during the past year allows for only one conclusion. Once a cruise ship terminal is built downtown at Union Pier, the result will be a historic, environmental, cultural and financial disaster for downtown and Historic Charleston. If you’re looking back at the past 300 years of maritime history, you won’t believe that. But if you’re looking ahead at the growth of the modern cruise-tourism industry, you will.

Jay Williams, Jr., a radio broadcast consultant, member of the Charlestowne Neighborhood Association, regularly blogs on Charleston’s proposed cruise ship terminal. His blogs may be found at CharlestonCruiseControl.org under “Jay’s Blog.”

Today’s P&C editorial: Cruise concerns are worldwide- Those with concerns about a growing cruise industry aren’t small in number after all.

“Cruise Concerns are worldwide- Those with concerns about a growing cruise industry aren’t small in number after all “,
P&C
, May 13, 2012, Editorial. 

Those local people who have concerns about the negative impact of a growing cruise industry are in good company. Worldwide company. Company in such places as Venice, Italy; Key West, Fla.; and Dubrovnik, Croatia. Preservationists from those and other places around the globe are so concerned about the ill effects of cruise ships on the cities where they call that they are planning to gather in Charleston in November to learn from each other.

In the lead will be the Preservation Society of Charleston, fulfilling its role as an advocate for maintaining the city’s historic nature and buildings. A network of people fear that the traffic, congestion, pollution and visual impact of increasinlgy large cruise ships would damage the city. They want reasonable, enforceable limits.

Still, Charleston Mayor Joe Riley told reporter Robert Behre that those who want the industry regulated are a small minority, and that they have not compromised plans for a new cruise ship terminal. The SPA is proceeding with its plans with the city’s support.

The race has begun. The city and SPA have no plans to delay their business plan. Preservationists, neighborhood groups and conservationists want to slow the process until their concerns have been addressed.

National Trust for Historic Preservation Director Stephanie Meeks spoke to the Preservation Society on Thursday. She mentioned the cruise issue only briefly, but what she didn’t say spoke volumes: She didn’t say that the Trust has removed Charleston from its watch list for endangered places. It remains there, just as it remains on a similar list of the World Monuments Fund.

The question is whether advocates for cruise limitations can forestall SPA long enough for the November conference to produce recommendations.

Ms. Meeks said that Charleston has set standards for historic preservation. There is reason to hope that the international conference here will come up with ideas worth waiting for. The city and the SPA should be as receptive as the preservation community.

 Copyright, 2012, The Post and Courier. All Rights Reserved.

Cruise foes zero in on Charleston: International conference to be held here- front page article in P&C

Post and Courier, May 11, 2012, ROBERT BEHRE

Charleston is not alone in grappling with the potential harm from a growing cruise ship industry, and the city will host an international conference of preservationists this fall to delve into the issue. The conference was announced Thursday during a Preservation Society of Charleston meeting, where National Trust for Historic Preservation Director Stephanie Meeks spoke.

 “Charleston is an internationally important city, and there are a lot of cities that have even more experience in cruise tourism than Charleston has,” she said.

 It was Meeks’ first public appearance here since the National Trust placed the city on a new “watch status” because of concerns that its expanding cruise ship tourism could jeopardize the city’s historic character.

The trust has teamed up with local preservation groups and others to address concerns over the ships, such as their related traffic, congestion, pollution – even their visual impact on the skyline.

She offered relatively few comments on the controversy, but Preservation Society Executive Director Evan Thompson announced that the international conference would be held Nov. 14-16 at Charleston’s Francis Marion Hotel.

“In historic port cities, we’re all up against the international cruise tourism industry,” Thompson said. “If we can find a way to work together … we’ll have a much greater chance of success.”

He noted that the issue is relevant in Key West, Fla.; Mobile, Ala.; and in much-older cities such as Venice, Italy, and Dubrovnik, Croatia.

The World Monuments Fund, which also has expressed concern over cruise ships’ impact in Charleston, is a partner for the fall conference.

Charleston Mayor Joe Riley, who wasn’t at the meeting, has drawn criticism from preservationists for not doing enough to regulate cruise ships. Earlier Thursday, Riley said the city and the State Ports Authority are moving ahead with plans for a new cruiseterminal that will spur the redevelopment of Union Pier.

He said the industry’s legal and political opponents have not done any damage.

“All of us are patient. We have all the patience that issue needs because what we’re doing is the right thing,” he said. “The overwhelming majority of the community is behind this.”

Riley also noted that the city’s cruise ship industry isn’t seeing unabated growth; 84 ships are set to call here this year, down from 87 last year.

Still, the society placed the Ansonborough neighborhood on its new “Seven to Save” list of historic sites worthy of attention.

Thompson said the listing is partly because Ansonborough is so close to the cruise terminal and partly because it is home to the Gaillard Auditorium, which is set for a $140 million makeover that the society wants scaled back.

While other port cities are affected by cruise ships, there’s not widespread concern voiced over them, said John Hildreth, head of the National Trust’s Eastern field office. “But there’s that potential as the cruise industry is growing and changing.”

Meeks said many historic cities have looked to Charleston to set a standard in preservation.

“If Charleston can’t figure it out,” Thompson said, “it doesn’t bode well for other less organized, but equally valuable places.”

Ship Noise: a response to the “Cruise Critics miss the boat” commentary in P&C.

“Ship noise”, P&C, May 10, 2012, letter to the editor. 

I wonder where Robert New and Pat Barber, authors of the May 7 “Cruise critics miss the boat,” reside.

Their ignorance about the outrageous noise pollution from Carnival is far more “laughable” (their word regarding their opponents’ arguments) than Ansonborough’s efforts to protect the livability of its neighborhood.

Bruce Smith
George Street
Charleston

“…you have to be careful that tourism doesn’t become a detriment to residents.”- A quote from Mayor Riley in today’s Savannah Morning News.

Charleston mayor: Cruise ships a ‘natural’ fit for port cities, Savannah Morning News, May 10, 2012. 

A cruise ship port would enhance tourism in an established visitor destination such as Savannah, Charleston, S.C., Mayor Joseph Riley said Tuesday.

Speaking at the Savannah Downtown Business Association’s monthly luncheon at Ruth’s Chris steakhouse, Riley said his city becoming a year-round home port for a cruise ship has “worked out very well” since Carnival stationed the Fantasy there in 2010.

“For a port city to have a cruise ship port is a natural,” Riley said. “There are some activities you can import that aren’t natural, but people have been coming to Charleston on ships since it was founded.”

Charleston has welcomed cruise ships since 1973, two years before Riley began the first of his 10 terms as the city’s mayor. Charleston served strictly as a seasonal port prior to the Carnival Fantasy’s arrival two years ago.

The city is building a new terminal, located up the Cooper River from the current home. The facility, expected to open next year, will include ample parking and cut down on traffic issues that plague downtown when the ship is in port, Riley said, yet still be close to Charleston’s popular tourism sites.

The new terminal site is seven blocks north of the Charleston City Market and adjacent to the South Carolina Aquarium.

Riley encouraged Savannah’s leaders to learn from Charleston’s recent experiences. He acknowledged the regular calls — 91 in 2011 — by the 2,675-passinger Carnival Fantasy have been met with some public angst. Many of those concerns will be addressed with the opening of the new terminal, Riley said.

“Have parking and have a traffic plan” was Riley’s advice.

Riley emphasized that tourism as a whole should serve residents. Many port cities, like Charleston and Savannah, were built to be densely populated. As residents migrated out of city centers over time and downtowns became less dense, it opened up space for visitors.

“Hotels and cruise ships and tours spit people out onto the streets who have disposable time and money in their pockets and improves livability for residents,” Riley said. “But you have to be careful that tourism doesn’t become a detriment to residents.”

Mayor Pro Tem Van Johnson, one of three aldermen to attend the luncheon along with Tony Thomas and Carol Bell, praised Riley for Charleston’s success at balancing livability with tourism.

“There are so many similarities between Savannah and Charleston,” Johnson said. “We need to continue to engage with our sister city.”

Dana Beach’s letter responding to recent articles about shore power and clean fuel- “The cleaner ship fuel required by the new standards for 2015 would still be one hundred (100) times as dirty as diesel fuel that is currently available for use in trucks on US highways.”

Folks,

For the past two years, the city of Charleston and the State Ports Authority have argued against shore power for cruise ships (allowing the ships to turn their engines off while they are in port). They assert that shore power is unnecessary because new regulations require cleaner fuel by 2015.

The argument is flawed because “cleaner” does not mean “safe.” There would still be high levels of toxic pollutants pouring out of ship stacks in one of the most densely populated locations in South Carolina. The cleaner ship fuel required by the new standards for 2015 would still be one hundred (100) times as dirty as diesel fuel that is currently available for use in trucks on US highways.

The first editorial, from the Post and Courier, makes the case that shore power is the only way to protect the health of downtown residents and workers, especially those working the docks.

The second article from the State illustrates the profound hypocrisy of the clean fuel argument. It reports that the cruise industry, led by Carnival Cruise Lines, is spending huge amounts of money lobbying against the federal clean fuel standards. So the upshot is that Carnival, the city of Charleston and the State Ports Authority are blocking the best option for clean air in the city, shore power, at the same time Carnival is leading the charge against even the inadequate clean fuel solution proposed by the city and the SPA.

Dana


State medical association advocates for shoreside power for cruise ships, P&C,
May 6, 2012.
Cruise-ship industry fights cleaner-fuel rule, The State, May 6, 2012, RENEE SCHOOF.

Doctors: Plug in cruise ships- State medical association advocates for shoreside power for cruise ships, today’s first editorial in P&C

State medical association advocates for shoreside power for cruise ships, P&C, May 6, 2012. 

                                                                                                   
The South Carolina Medical Association has added its eminent voice to those calling for cruise ships in Charleston to be required to use shoreside power. The State Ports Authority and the city of Charleston should heed the message.

Scientific studies have connected cruise ship emissions to numerous health problems. The SCMA House of Delegates recommends a solution: Reduce those emissions by the use of shoreside power by cruise ships at berth. During a recent meeting, its members agreed with the Charleston County Medical Society that enforceable requirements are necessary to ensure shoreside power is used. 

It’s time for the city, the SPA and local legislators to cooperate.

So far, the city and the Ports Authority have dismissed other organizations’ requests for enforceable regulations for cruise ships, including shoreside power.

The Historic Charleston Foundation, the Preservation Society of Charleston, the Ansonborough and Charlestowne neighborhood associations and the Coastal Conservation League all have asked for legal restrictions on the size, number and frequency of cruise ships visiting here. The National Trust for Historic Preservation has put Charleston on its watch list for endangered cities.

The SPA would be wrong to dismiss a recommendation to protect the health of port employees and people who live and work near the terminal. Doing so would suggest that the port of Charleston is indifferent to the community’s well-being.

Studies have linked emissions from cruise ships to asthma, bronchitis, cardiovascular disease, lung cancer and decreased lung function. Emissions into the water have been linked to bacterial and viral contamination of fish and shellfish.

One of the primary recommendations of the Natural Resources Defense Council is to limit the idling of vessels at dock by providing electric power and requiring ships to plug in instead of running engines. Cruise ships need power to operate lights, air conditioning and other systems.

Onshore power has been shown to reduce airborne pollutants by up to 90 percent. It is used by the country’s major cruise ports.

The American Medical Association also supports reducing portside air pollutants with onshore power, as do the Environmental Protection Agency, the American Lung Association and the Cruise Lines Industry Association.

Indeed, Carnival Cruise Lines itself, in its 2010 sustainability report, boasts of its efforts to be a “good corporate citizen” and “preserve the fragile ecosystems upon which we are so dependent.” As an example, the report points to Carnival committing to onshore power for ships calling at Long Beach, Calif.

Why not here?
The State Ports Authority estimated it would cost $5.6 million to provide onshore power, and Carnival Cruise Lines would have to spend about $1.5 million to retrofit the Fantasy, the cruise ship that most often calls at Charleston. The port has said the cost is too great for a “relatively small environmental benefit” in light of new federal regulations requiring cleaner fuel to be used by ships near port.

The national cruise lobby is trying to weaken those pending requirements.

It is baffling that no one — not the SPA, the city, its mayor or City Council — has made an effort to ensure best cruise ship practices in Charleston, even as plans for a new $30 million passenger terminal are advancing.

The South Carolina Medical Association’s motive in advocating for shoreside power is simple: protecting people’s health.

That should certainly be an equally important consideration for the State Ports Authority and the city of Charleston.

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