Today’s P&C editorial: “Go green with cruise ships”- “…Juneau…Seattle, Vancouver, San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles have added shore-side power. Brooklyn is coming online this year.”

Go green with cruise ships, Post and Courier, February 12, 2012, editorial.

In an effort to enhance the port and its reputation as a first-class place to do business, the State Ports Authority plans to build a new terminal with dual rail access in North Charleston, move and upgrade the passenger terminal and help port trucks switch to cleaner fuel.

The port could further improve its operations by installing shore-side power for cruise ships calling here.

The trend to cleaner power began in 2001 in Juneau. Since then, Seattle, Vancouver, San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles have added shore-side power. Brooklyn is coming online this year.

Instead of idling the engines to keep lights on and air conditioning working while they are docked, shore-side power allows ships to hook up to the equivalent of a large electrical outlet and turn off the engines. That means less unpleasant air emissions.

Of course, it also means expenses both for the port and the ship owner to add necessary equipment. The Port of San Francisco spent $5.2 million on its system. And while it takes $1 million of equipment for a cruise ship, officials say cruise lines will save in the long run. Power supplied by diesel runs around $18,000 for a 10-hour call while the new shore-side power averages around $16,000 for the same amount of time.

Other ports have found creative ways to finance the improvements. For example, the corporation that manages Brooklyn’s cruise terminals will subsidize some of the cost of the power, as will the New York Power Authority. The remainder of the cost will be paid by the Carnival Corp., whose ships utilize the Brooklyn homeport. Carnival (with cruises originating in Charleston also) will spend millions to retrofit its ships that use the Brooklyn port.

The Port of San Francisco is working with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to price shore-side power at a rate that’s cheaper than using onboard engines while docked.

California regulations require phased-in shore-side power beginning 2014, so ports are reaching out to cruise lines to make them aware of possible grant funding available for retrofitting their ships.

The shore-side power focus has been primarily on cruise ships, which idle for hours as passengers debark, visit a port and return to the ship. The diesel burns the whole time.

And in Charleston, where the cruise industry is already a source of discord, shore-side power could be viewed as an olive branch — a way for the SPA to address one of residents’ concerns about the size and number of cruise ships and the pollution they cause.

The timing is also convenient. The SPA is not yet finished its terminal design plans. Adding shore-side power up front while construction is under way instead of retrofitting later makes sense.

The Navy has used shore-side power for years. Why shouldn’t Charleston?

Adding shore-side power will require teamwork. SCE&G needs to be part of the plan, as do the SPA and its biggest clients.

Shore-side power is quiet, clean and odor-free.

It is clearly the right thing to do for residents and passengers alike.


“Report on cruise industry should open the city’s eyes”- an editorial in today’s P&C

Report on cruise industry should open the city’s eyes, Post and Courier, February 9, 2012, editorial. 

A new report on the cruise industry’s impact on historic Charleston confirms concerns that preservationists, environmentalists and many downtown residents have been expressing. City Hall should pay heed.

The independent assessment, commissioned by the non-profit Historic Charleston Foundation and prepared by financial and economic consulting firm Miley & Associates of Columbia, paints a much less appealing picture than the one put forth by the S.C. State Ports Authority.

It finds that the SPA’s claims about the extent to which cruises boost the downtown economy are too rosy. It suggests that the city, which has declined to regulate the number and size of cruise ships in Charleston, should indeed ensure that the cruise industry is managed and controlled, as are virtually all other attractions and activities governed by the city.

And it says the city, which provides many of the services required by cruise ships, should be receiving a portion of the parking and per-passenger fees (about $10 million a year) that now go to the SPA alone.

The study is clear in noting that the port is well run and respected, and has served the area and the state exceptionally well: “This report should not be interpreted as a negative report on the SPA or the cruise industry.”

But the report does elaborate on troubling cruise issues.

For the last few years, the SPA has responded to complaints about cruise ships flooding the Market area with people, polluting the air and towering over the historic city’s fabled skyline, by providing information about the industry’s benefits to hotels, restaurants and merchants.

Miley & Associates found that the hotels most benefiting from cruises are not in the historic city and that Carnival Cruise Lines purchases most supplies directly from manufacturers, not from local merchants. The study found that cruise ship passengers visiting Charleston spend only one-tenth of what other tourists spend.

To date, the mayor and City Council have followed the SPA’s lead on the cruise ship issue.

It is time for them to recognize that critics of the industry have legitimate concerns, which they, as elected officials, need to address.

They should start with the proposal to put binding restrictions on the number and size of cruise ships. The SPA has said it will allow no more than 104 a year.

HCF’s consultants recommend that the city should have a firm contract with the SPA, establishing who will own and control the portion of Union Pier that will be vacated when the passenger terminal is moved farther north, and who will pay for its development.

Other good ideas include creating a citizens commission to oversee and advise council on cruise issues and commissioning an independent study to determine the resources that the cruise ship industry cost the city.

The consultants concede the limitations in the scope of the study and recommend that an impartial economic impact analysis be conducted. It should be sponsored by those with a stake in the cruise industry’s future — from neighbors to longshoremen to environmentalists.

Mayor Joe Riley has said that those who want city controls on the cruise industry are a small group of people who don’t understand Charleston and think it should feel more like a gated community than a real city. He bridled at the National Trust for Historic Preservation including Charleston, because of the cruise industry, on its watch list for endangered cities.

This study acknowledges that the cruise industry indeed poses a risk to the historic charm of Charleston and could taint its excellent reputation as a world-class tourist destination.

Supporters of the cruise industry shouldn’t dismiss this report the way they have dismissed residents and merchants who have registered concerns about the size and number of ships in Charleston and their environmental impact.

And the city should pay close attention to its findings and recommendations, and not solely those made by the SPA.

From either perspective, the stakes are high regarding the cruise industry.

The city needs to balance cruise ships’ benefits and the industry’s impact on the ambiance and livability of the historic district. That balance is important to residents, tourism and the local economy.

Independent and Objective Economic Report Commissioned by Historic Charleston Foundation: The Cruise Industry in Charleston: A Clear Perspective

Publisher: Historic Charleston Foundation
Date: 02/08/2012
Website: The Cruise Industry in Charleston: A Clear Perspective (pdf)

Since early 2010, Historic Charleston Foundation has facilitated inclusive community dialogue concerning the landside impacts of the cruise industry, relating specifically to the historic district of downtown Charleston. The Foundation’s most recent advocacy work includes commissioning an independent report on the economic impacts of the cruise industry in Charleston. The report provides an objective analysis and perspective on the economic impacts of the cruise industry to the City, providing the community fact-based statistics on which to make informed decisions.

The Foundation researched economic firms in March 2011, and hired Miley & Associates, Inc., a well-known economic consulting firm in South Carolina and the author of other high profile economic impact reports. The Foundation-commissioned report is titled The Cruise Industry in Charleston: A Clear Perspective.

Recognizing the significance of the State Ports Authority to Charleston and the state of South Carolina, this report clarifies the key issues concerning the City of Charleston and its residents. This report also considers the costs of the cruise industry to the City of Charleston and provides the community with findings related to: trends in the cruise industry, its economic impacts, as well as opportunity costs and quality-of-life issues inherent to the cruise industry in Charleston’s historic district.

“Because some of the impacts accrue to surrounding cities and towns, the direct economic impact on the City of Charleston’s historic district is minor,” said Harry Miley, President of Miley & Associates, Inc. “While the State Ports Authority is a major employer in the state of South Carolina, the recommendation to limit the volume and size of the cruise industry would not affect any jobs related to the existing cruise business in Charleston today.”

The report addresses some of the benefits of the industry as well as some of the risks, such as:

–  A visitor staying in Charleston spends a longer time and more money than the typical cruise ship visitor.  If the cruise business becomes too large it could displace other visitors to Charleston.
–  The industry typically attempts to maximize the spending by the passengers onboard the ship and minimize the spending by the passengers when they are off the ship.
–  The hotels that are most impacted are not in the City of Charleston.
–  The potential for spending in the City by Carnival passengers is relatively limited due to the timing of embarking and disembarking of passengers.

“Details of the scheduling and logistics of passengers and suppliers coupled with the extremely efficient operating techniques of the cruise industry leave little room for positive economic impacts on the City,” said Miley. “This report estimates that the State Ports Authority will collect as much as $10 million in parking and head tax fees in a typical year from the cruise industry. None of these revenues goes to the City of Charleston.”

The report concludes with several recommendations:

–  The City should ensure that the cruise industry is managed and controlled, as are virtually all other attractions and activities governed by the City.
–  As a major stakeholder in the process, the City should become more involved with the negotiations with the cruise industry and the State Ports Authority.
–  The City should negotiate with the State Ports Authority and cruise industry to impose a reasonable passenger fee to help offset costs that the City may incur serving the cruise industry. With these funds, the City should create an “Infrastructure Fund” to offset the cost of infrastructure improvements that will be required for the redevelopment of the southern portion of Union Pier and the special initiatives presented in the Union Pier Concept Plan. Such improvements could benefit the cruise industry as well as other sectors of the local economy.

To read the executive summary of The Cruise Industry in Charleston: A Clear Perspective, visit Funding for this objective report was made possible in part through a contribution by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The Foundation will continue to work toward the provision of a productive solution to the quality of life in Charleston as it has over the past two years on the subject. For more information and a timeline of the Foundation’s advocacy efforts, visit

“Groundhog Day”

When last we wrote, we quoted one Bruce Smith in his letter to the Post and Courier. Mr. Smith took a fresh, long term-look at Charleston’s future and the cruise ship terminal issue: “Anyone who is willing to tolerate the [cruise] ships, given their druthers and a clean slate would never allow them to dock in downtown Charleston. They will have learned from many other ports that placement of a terminal slightly removed from the hub of economic activity and the center of tourism with frequent and free transport to and from the center of town would be ideal.” He noted that, “Harbors were never in the ‘center’ of town, even in Charleston, but on the periphery, to avoid all the detrimental impacts they create… “We have a chance to do it anew, either north or east of the city’s center, the way our founders would have chosen.”(1)

So with a new year, the mayor’s 10th inaugural signaled a fresh, new approach to the cruise terminal debate…right? No. P&C columnist Brian Hicks, in a fawning article about Mayor Riley, wrote, “He took a shot at cruise ship opponents — hey, it wouldn’t be the mayor if he wasn’t a little snarky — by declaring that this a working city, not a gated community. It’s a place where at any given moment you might hear ‘the announcement from the Coast Guard station; or on another part of the peninsula, ships arriving or embarking; fire engines …'”(2) So the lingering problems of the fire department (3), the police department (4), the Crosstown (5,6), the cruise ship terminal…continue. New year, same old stuff.

No worries. There are more problems. The State Ports Authority (SPA) is apparently trying to figure out how “[t]he Port of Savannah has leapfrogged ahead of Charleston to become one of the nation’s busiest ports, and some fear that deepening the Savannah River could tip the scales further in Georgia’s favor.” One clue might be that the Georgia ports authority found out that the Panama Canal was going to be widened; perhaps that was a story that the SPA missed, because “while Savannah’s [permitting process] began in 1996 and is due for a final decision next year… “Charleston’s proposed deepening is at the beginning of a multiyear study process.”(7) Does anyone wonder why Charleston waited so long to start its permitting process? Is anyone asking that question?

Here’s another question. In its battle with Savannah, “The State Ports Authority is campaigning for the federal government to study the relative merits of all Southeastern ports (particularly Charleston vs. Savannah) regarding post-Panamax dredging.”(8) That’s a great idea. Look at the two sites, have a third party compare them using objective criteria, and determine which one is better. An objective, merit-based study. So why, then, is the SPA stonewalling against a similar study to compare different sites for a new Charleston Cruise terminal? When the SPA is battling against Savannah, it wants an impartial study. But when the SPA has a compliant mayor, an emasculated City Council, and an uninvolved state legislature (except for good efforts of Senators Chip Campsen and Chip Limehouse), the SPA chooses to avoid a much needed, objective, merit-based study to determine the best location for a cruise ship terminal. No problem. No one loses here except the people and future of Charleston.

That’s not all. As the Charlestowne Neighborhood Association’s Randy Pelzer wrote in an Post and Courier op-ed, the SPA charges that Georgia’s dredging project inadequately addresses the environmental issues of depleted oxygen levels that would endanger fish and water quality in the Savannah River. But isn’t this the same SPA that’s objecting to an environmentally-friendly shore-side power requirement for cruise ships in the face of the toxic, bunker-fuel pollution that drifts and drops across the City of Charleston every time a cruise ship is in port? So when it comes to choosing the best location for a Charleston cruise terminal, or protecting Charleston’s air quality from noxious soot and pollutants, Randy Pelzer concludes: “A merit-based study is right for the dredging issue. And it is right for the SPA cruise terminal.”

The problems are so obvious at Union Pier, that no fewer than six different Charleston neighborhood, environmental, and historic organizations that have studied the issue have called for “for an independent study of the location the State Ports Authority has chosen for a new cruise passenger terminal.”(9)

But 2012 is likely to be 2011 or 2010 all over again. The longest serving mayor in America has gotten another four-year term. And the SPA’s CEO was just awarded a new seven-year, $350,000 a-year contract (not including bonuses).(10)

One final question. Was it our mayor or the SPA CEO who said, “our public persona and the quality of our lives should never be sacrificed… “Why would anyone think the use of an old warehouse and a huge parking lot would be a smart decision? We shouldn’t cut any deal with the SPA until…we all know and agree [on what] would be the best solution for the next 100 years, not the next five.”(1) It was neither of them. It was letter-writer Bruce Smith.


# # #

1) “No Deals” – letter to the P&C
2) Hicks Column: Riley’s City Already a Great One – P&C
3) “The Same Mistakes…” BuildingsonFire . com
4) Memo told Police Officers to Hide Key Crime Details – P&C
5) How the City Plans to Fix the Crosstown – P&C
6) “Crosstown Canal” – letter to the editor, P&C
7) “What’s at Stake with Savannah Dredging” – P&C
8) “SPA Should Extend its Fair Study Criteria to Cruise Terminal” – Randy Pelzer
9) “Groups Call for Terminal Study” P&C
10) SPA Chief gets $50,000 raise, 7-Year Contract” – P&C

“Ports Authority hostile to human health”- a letter to the editor in The State newspaper today

“Ports Authority hostile to human health,”   The State, February 3, 2012, letter to editor

The State Ports Authority’s objection to the go-ahead given to Georgia for Savannah River dredging is supposedly based on its grave concern that the health of marine life will be adversely affected.

At the same time, however, the Ports Authority is more than willing to dock its pollution-spewing cruise ships smack-dab in the middle of a high-density residential area. The ships’ smokestacks will be within a few hundred feet of 160 homes along Laurens Street and will affect all of peninsular Charleston. The authority is refusing to install shore-side power for ships, which would help alleviate this serious health detriment.

How is it that the Ports Authority answers to no one other than its board members? Board members are not elected officials, and while the governor can fill a vacancy, she can’t un-appoint members. The Ports Authority is a state agency and pays no state taxes and seems omnipotent. Taxpaying citizens have no influence, through elected officials, over the authority’s conduct. That simply is not right and should be changed. Citizens who reside full-time in Charleston and pay huge property taxes are maligned by the Ports Authority, their concerns dismissed, while all consideration is given to cruise customers who come and go. Both the mayor and Ports Authority have disparaged venerable preservation groups that have fought for nearly a century to protect the vulnerable and historic environment of Charleston.

Apparently when it’s convenient, the Ports Authority purports to support environmental causes, but citizens aren’t stupid, and we know this is really about competition with Savannah to see who can get its river dredged first. Even if we were to give the Ports Authority the benefit of the doubt about its new-found fervor for the environment, we still would have to conclude that it cares a lot more about the little fishies in the Savannah River than about the health of the citizens of Charleston.

There is, however, an obvious win-win solution here: Move the cruise terminal to a site that is not in the middle of a high-density residential area.

There is plenty of available property along the Cooper River.

Tommie Robertson


“Groups call for terminal study”- an article in today’s P&C

“Groups call for terminal study”,
Post and Courier, January 24, 2012, DAVID SLADE. 

As several Charleston organizations with concerns about the cruise ship business await S.C. Supreme Court action on their lawsuit against Carnival Cruise Lines, they are continuing to press their case on other fronts.

The Historic Ansonborough Neighborhood Association, Charlestowne Neighborhood Association, The Preservation Society of Charleston and the Coastal Conservation League — the groups suing Carnival — were joined Monday by The Committee to Save the City and Charleston Communities for Cruise Control in calling for an independent study of the location the State Ports Authority has chosen for a new cruise passenger terminal.

The SPA plans to begin construction this year on a $35 million terminal, using an existing warehouse at Union Pier near Laurens Street, where there were previously cargo operations.

The terminal, which was the subject of numerous public meetings last year, would replace an older one at the south end of Union Pier, near Market Street.

Opponents have suggested cruise ships should dock elsewhere, such at Columbus Street Terminal or Patriot’s Point. SPA President Jim Newsome has called that idea “a non-starter.”

Port officials have said Columbus Street Terminal, where $23 million was recently invested in capital improvements, is not an alternative, and is a focal point of the SPA’s growing non-container business. A spokeswoman said the SPA had nothing new to add in response to the latest call for an independent study.

The Charleston Communities for Cruise Control organization, which calls itself C4 for short, also has asked Carnival to voluntarily agree to standards addressing “the size of ships, frequency of visits, air and water emissions, fuel used, noise mitigation, impact fees, local purchasing and periodic reporting on the standards.”


Letter to the editor in today’s Savannah paper about merit-based study-

(Merit-based study) Letter to the editorSavannah Morning News, January 23, 2012

Are the objections by the South Carolina officials to Savannah River dredging and its request for a merit-based study of all Southeastern ports just a ploy to secure a competitive advantage for the Charleston port, as many in Georgia think?

On its face, the call for a merit-based study of all dredging sites seems prudent. Yet, the S.C. port has flatly refused a similar request for a merit-based study of potential sites for a new cruise terminal in Charleston requested by the two historic residential neighborhoods (South of Broad and Ansonborough) most impacted by the traffic congestion, soot, noise and skyline impairment from cruise ships docked in our neighborhoods.

Similarly, the S.C. port has publicly challenged Georgia’s dredging permit on the grounds that fish are not sufficiently protected by a mitigation plan centered on an aeration system costing Georgia over $50 million.

Yet, the S.C. port has refused to protect humans in Charleston from the air pollution of docked cruise ships burning dirty fuel to power a small town, even though shore power has worked in other ports and costs only a few million dollars.

Instead of conducting a merit-based study of its six Charleston terminals, the S.C. port has chosen a site at its Union Pier Terminal in the historic district, a location that does not make sense for these reasons:

• It goes against the normal practice of locating modern cruise terminals away from residential areas.

• It damages human health, property, quality of life and heritage tourism as publicized by local doctors, realtors, hoteliers, residents, preservation organizations and others over the past year.

Two national organizations (National Trust for Historic Preservation and World Monument Fund) have placed Charleston on a special watch list of endangered historic sites due to cruise operations in the historic district.

Our neighborhood associations have suggested an alternative cruise terminal site away from the historic district that would minimize the negative impacts from cruise passengers, most of whom travel to Charleston just to board the cruise ship.

We have petitioned our state leaders to rectify this embarrassing inconsistency by the S.C. Ports Authority and to order a merit-based study of alternative cruise terminal sites and environmental mitigation.

This is what the S.C. port has been preaching for dredging but not practicing for the cruise terminal; it is a telling inconsistency.

Head, Charlestowne Neighborhood Association
Cruise Ship Task Force
Charleston, S.C.

“Full speed ahead to high court”- an editorial in today’s P&C

“Full speed ahead to high court”,
Post and Courier, January 22, 2012, editorial. 

It has been two years since the Historic Charleston Foundation organized a forum to address the need to strike a “delicate balance” of business, tourism and livability for peninsula Charleston.

And for most of those two years, one topic has remained unresolved — and contentious: cruise ships.

Both those who support unregulated cruises to Charleston and those who are calling for restrictions say it is good news that the S.C. Supreme Court has decided to play a role in the issue by hearing a controversial lawsuit.

At least they can agree on something.

The lawsuit alleges that Carnival cruise ships in port here should be subject to city ordinances including those regulating noise, building heights and signage.

It was filed by the Southern Environmental Law Center last year on behalf of the Coastal Conservation League, the Preservation Society of Charleston and the Charles Towne and Ansonborough neighborhood associations. The State Ports Authority and the city of Charleston intervened on Carnival’s behalf.

The Supreme Court’s decision means that, instead of the suit proceeding through the court system and eventually ending up in the Supreme Court, the high court will be the first to consider it.

Meanwhile, the SPA is moving forward on its plans to build a new cruise terminal.

The Charleston Communities for Cruise Control is hoping to persuade Carnival to agree to restrictions voluntarily as it has done in other ports.

The Historic Charleston Foundation is awaiting results of an independent study it contracted for to evaluate the cruise industry’s impact on the peninsula.

The city remains on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s watch list as being threatened by the cruise industry.

And there is a movement to convince the SPA to agree to an objective analysis of the port’s property and the most appropriate place on it for the new cruise terminal. Some believe that, by moving the site northward, the SPA would free up more land for valuable residential and commercial development. The SPA contends that it has looked at its options and made the best choice for port operations.

In his recent inaugural address, Mayor Joe Riley referred to the “lively debate in our community about cruise ships.” He rightly said that local sights and sounds, including ships, are signs of a vibrant city.

But he then attributed the debate to a few wealthy people who have moved to Charleston and expect it to be “like a gated community — affluent and exclusive” — an unfortunate dismissal of real concerns of a significant number of people, including lifelong Charlestonians and preservationists.

A two-way, respectful discourse on the issue of cruise ship controls, as the Supreme Court should provide, will be a welcome step in this complicated issue. A civil exchange of ideas also would be welcome in Charleston’s civic debate on the issue.

That civility should start with City Hall.

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.




Read “Ship Emissions” in today’s P&C- a reply to Mayor Riley’s “gated community — affluent and elitist” comment about his constituents.

A picture says a thousand words... A view from the author's home.

“Ship Emissions” 
Post and Courier, January 14, 2012, Letter to the editor

Talk about chutzpa and gall. Mayor Joe Riley recently was quoted as saying those of us who have concerns about our health due to emissions from cruise ships docking 150 feet from our homes are acting like we think we’re in a “gated community — affluent and elitist.” Now mind you, this is coming from our south-of-Broad-residing mayor.

Talk about an affluent and elitist community — that certainly could be said about where the mayor resides. It’s important to point out that the mayor is moving ships’ emissions farther from his home while moving them virtually on top of our homes.

The city zoned the area of Laurens Street adjacent to the cruise terminal site for high-density residential use. There are currently 60 existing homes and another 100 have been approved for Anson Field/Concord Park in this area, all within a few hundred feet of ships’ smokestacks.

Why is it that pleasantries for cruisers (e.g. they can walk to Market Street shops) are more important than the health of these 160 full-time, taxpaying residents? Who cares about the health of these 160 families? Clearly not Mayor Riley, nor the State Ports Authority. Maybe if the mayor and the SPA quit vilifying concerned citizens and making false allegations (e.g. we’re anti-jobs, anti-cruiser “snobs”) then real issues could be fairly and objectively discussed.

Tommie Robertson
Laurens Street