Archive for December 2012

Even the Post & Courier agrees “Carnival’s Green Image is just a Fantasy!”

Original Source

OK, Carnival, write 1,000 times: I will not pollute the water and the air. I will not pollute the water and the air.

Something has got to drive home to Carnival Cruise Lines that it is not all right to send the Fantasy to the port of Charleston when it has scored an F for its environmental footprint.

Environmental advocacy group Friends of the Earth’s recently released Cruise Ship Report Card compares 15 major cruise lines and 148 cruise ships. The good news … sort of … is that Carnival Cruise Lines has improved from an F to a D+.

Marcie Keever, oceans and vessels project director for Friends of the Earth, said Carnival’s grade improved in part because it installed shoreside power on two of its ships.

“Imagine if Carnival implemented these changes across its entire fleet,” she said.

At present, imagination will have to suffice in Charleston, where the Fantasy is homeported. The ship scored an F in reducing air pollution.

It also scored an F in sewage treatment, for an overall grade of F. Air emissions have provided the most cause for complaint locally, by far.

The report card indicates that Carnival Cruise Lines could do a better job than it has done — and particularly for the Fantasy. And those improvements would benefit the 3,530 people who might be aboard and the people on shore who breathe the same air.

Adding shoreside electrical power, which allows ships at berth to cut off their emissions-spouting diesel engines, would be a good start. And now would be a good time, since state environmental regulators recently approved the port’s proposed new passenger terminal at Union Pier, which the Fantasy will use.

Shoreside power would almost assuredly pull up the Fantasy’s sad grade.

Charleston City Council, which has so far declined to put any meaningful restrictions on Carnival, should take note of the report card.

Viewed in context with local complaints about the Fantasy, it offers compelling reading — and more evidence that the city shouldn’t be a passive host to the cruise industry.

It Does Seem More Than a Little Hypocritical

New cruise permit, but same haze

In granting permission for a new cruise passenger terminal in Charleston, the S.C. office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management also acknowledged the importance of regulating the cruise industry that will use the terminal.

Unfortunately, the limitations that the city of Charleston and the S.C. State Ports Authority have agreed upon, and that the OCRM has endorsed, still are not binding.

During its quest to turn an old warehouse at Union Pier into a cruise terminal, the SPA and the city developed a cruise management plan, which limits the number and size of cruise ships calling on Charleston. The very fact that the plan was developed indicates those entities see the value of such restrictions.

Now, as announced Tuesday, the OCRM has included that management plan as a special condition for allowing the SPA to start installing piles for the new terminal.

If all agree that it is a good idea to limit the size and number of cruise ships in a city already attracting large numbers of visitors to a limited historic area, why make the plan for managing it voluntary?

Codifying these reasonable limitations would go a long way toward easing public concerns about the impacts of expanded cruise operations on the Charleston peninsula.

And making the rules binding would likely convince the National Trust for Historic Preservation to take Charleston off its list of places in jeopardy.

But the SPA and the city both have refused to take that step.

If the purpose of the management plan is to, well, manage the business, then why the dodge?

The OCRM and Carnival Cruise Lines (whose Fantasy cruise ship is home-based here) both profess that they value the environment. But neither has called for shoreside power, even though it is accepted as a good way to control emissions that can harm people’s health.

Shoreside power allows ships to use electricity to keep the air conditioning and lights on without emissions spewing from idling engines of vessels that are docked for hours.

Carnival has altered some of its ships to use shoreside power, and has bragged about its environmental conscience.

But not in Charleston. And neither the city nor the state OCRM (part of the Department of Healthand Environmental Control) has gone to bat for the people who live and work in the area and who breathe what the ships produce.

Ironically, the OCRM permit for the passenger terminal requires SPA contractors on the project to take measures to minimize air emissions — including turning off vehicles not in active use.

The SPA’s success is vital to the economy of Charleston and of South Carolina. It is good news that container traffic grew this year, and that Moody’s Investors Service has affirmed the SPA’s A1 rating, anticipating a stable future.

These recently announced achievements show that the SPA is under capable management — capable enough to see that real limitations would be an easy and effective way to calm the troublesome cruise industry debate.


Buy Tickets Now! – Symposium on Cruise Ships in Historic Port Communities

Save the Date/Buy Your Tickets Now! February 6-8
Charleston will be the host city for an international symposium:Harboring Tourism: A Symposium on Cruise Ships in Historic Port Communities.  The three day event is being sponsored by the Preservation Society of Charleston, World Monuments Fund and National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Carnival Fantasy earns an “F” for 2012


Friends of the Earth has just released its Cruise Line Report Card for 2012, which can be viewed here:

Friends of the Earth’s Cruise Line Report Card compares the environmental footprint of 15 major cruise lines and 148 cruise ships, in order to help vacationers decide which cruise to take based on a cruise ship or cruise line’s environmental and human health impacts.

Carnival Cruise Lines began homeporting the Carnival Fantasy (the oldest ship in its fleet) in Charleston beginning in 2010. The Carnival Fantasy earned an overall grade this year of an “F.” The grade is the result of the following:


  • In the category of Water Quality Compliance, the ship received an “N/A,” since it does not visit Alaska and that state is the only one actually tracking whether cruise ships pollute their water.
  • In the category of Sewage Treatment, the ship received an “F” because it does not have the most advanced sewage and wastewater treatment systems available, and instead dumps minimally treated sewage directly into the water.
  • In the category of Air Pollution Reduction, the ship received an “F” because it has not been retrofitted to plug in to shorepower, and instead runs polluting engines when docked in the heart of our downtown area.

Carnival Cruise Lines as a whole earned an overall grade of a “D+.” This is an improvement from the “F” it earned in 2010. Carnival Cruise Lines has 24 ships, and only two of those ships have advanced sewage treatment systems. The line has one ship operating in Alaska, and during the graded year received three citations from Alaskan authorities for violations of the state’s water pollution standards. Most notably, half of the lines’ ships that dock at a port with shoreside power are plug-in capable, so there is no reason the company could not invest in the same retrofit for us in Charleston.

It is also important to distinguish that Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest cruise holder, owns nearly half of the lines in this report, not just Carnival Cruise Lines.

Finally, the lead for the letter and enclosures I mailed you yesterday can read, “On November 30, executive director Carrie Agnew, mailed the letter below to Carnival Corp CEO Micky Arison.  Sent via certified mail/return receipt requested, this is the seventh letter C4 has sent this year.
The subject continues to ask for the answers to the questions posed not only by our organization but also the numerous other groups and individuals. Enclosed were Agnew’s recent commentary in the Post & Courier and letter to the editor that ran in the Charleston Mercury.
Carnival Cruise Lines CEO, Gerry Cahill, was copied, as were the presiding director Stuart Subotnick, Sir John Parker, Chairman of Carnival’s HESS Committee, and Carnival Corp & Carnival Cruise Lines Director of Public Relations, Lanie Morgenstern.  Mayor Joe Riley and Jim Newsome were also copied on the letter.