Letters to Carnival

Spring 2015 Letter to Carnival

Mr. Arnold W. Donald

CEO
Carnival Corporation
3655 N.W. 87th Avenue
Miami, FL 33178-2428

 

Dear Mr. Donald:

The location of a new cruise ship terminal in Charleston has been the subject of controversy since first proposed by the South Carolina State Ports Authority (SPA) over five years ago.

The proposed site at Union Pier in downtown Charleston is directly adjacent to the historic district and historic neighborhoods.

In September 2013 the necessary federal permit was revoked by a federal judge for failure of the Corps of Engineers to conduct required historical and environmental impact studies.

The SPA has yet to re-file for the required permit.

Earlier this month the Charleston Planning Commission, the official body that reviews projects from a sound city planning perspective, voted 8-1 to recommend an alternative location for any new cruise ship terminal.  The Chairman, appointed by the Mayor, expressed the view that a cruise ship terminal hosting 10-15 deck cruise ships and bringing 1000+ cars to and from downtown inappropriate at Union Pier.  This position is shared by a large number of residents and civic organizations.

Our organization, residents and civic organizations do not oppose cruise ships generally, but do share the belief that Union Pier is not an appropriate site to host large cruise ships. We all strongly believe these ships are out of scale with the area, bringing extra traffic to an already congested area and bringing air emissions in the absence of shore power.

We point to other port cities, such as Boston, Miami, St. Lauderdale, San Diego and Brooklyn as examples where the terminals are located outside residential or historic districts.

Now Carnival has added a second larger cruise ship, the Sunshine, to operate out of Charleston along with The Fantasy. We request that you indicate your willingness to work with the City, the SPA and community organizations to explore an alternative terminal location and to use shore power if facilities are made available.

We wonder if the SPA may believe that Carnival is unalterably opposed to an alternate location and unalterably opposed to outfitting ships visiting Charleston with shore power capability?  We hope this is not the case. In fact, we note that in Carnival’s own sustainability reports that you are sensitive to historic and environmentally delicate areas. Likewise, Carnival stated that it believes shore power represents the future for what is used at port cities.

The Charleston historic district is a sensitive small urban area that can easily be swamped by the scale and passenger capacity of modern cruise ships.  Civic groups including The Preservation Society of Charleston, Historic Charleston Foundation and National Trust for Historic Preservation are working diligently to avoid changing the nature of a district so important from an historic preservation and quality of life perspective.

We note that Disney ultimately decided not to build a theme park near Manassas and Wal-Mart did not build near another Civil War landmark, The Wilderness.

We hope Carnival will demonstrate that same corporate responsibility and use its influence and customer status to avoid large cruise ships docking at the historic district in downtown Charleston.

We look forward to receiving your response.

 

With regards,

Carrie Agnew
Executive Director; C4

 

cc:         Mr. Gerry Cahill, CEO Carnival Cruise Lines

 

 

 

 

Nov. 30th Letter to Micky Arison, CEO of Carnival Corp

__________________________

On November 30, 2012, C4 Executive Director Carrie Agnew mailed the following letter to Micky Arison, CEO of Carnival Corp with copies to Gerry Cahill (CEO, Carnival Cruise Lines), Stuart Subotnick (Presiding Director), Sir John Parker (Chairman HESS Committee), Lanie Morgenstern (Director of Public Relations Carnival Corp/Carnival Cruise Lines), Mayor Joseph P. Riley (City of Charleston), James Newsome (President & CEO SC State Ports Authority)
_________________________

Mr. Micky Arison
CEO Carnival Corp
3655 N.W. 87th Ave.
Miami, FL 33178-2428
Via Certified Mail; Return-Receipt Requested

 

Dear Mr. Arison:

The controversy in Charleston over cruise ship numbers, size and the proper location of a cruise ship terminal is not going away.

In contrast, concern is increasing.

The enclosed Op-Ed of November 9 in the Charleston Post and Courier and Letter to the Editor from November 14 printed in the Charleston Mercury make the points. The affected residents of Charleston will not accept an unregulated cruise ship industry at an inappropriate location, in spite of assurances you may have received from our Mayor and the SCSPA.

Charleston Communities for Cruise Control continues to press the issues. For example, our first in a series of billboards read “Save Charleston. Support Cruise Control.” The second asked the question “How many are too many?” The third may ask “How big is too big?” Another might ask “Why not a better location?” We have made statements at public hearings on required permits. Our “no soot” flags fly throughout the historic district. We regularly alert and update a long list of supporters. We maintain a website of growing resources.

We look forward to the international conference on cruise ship operations in historic cities planned to be held in Charleston on February 6-8, 2013. The conference is sponsored by The Preservation Society of Charleston, the World Monuments Fund and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Issues of appropriate size, number and location must be addressed in order to protect historic sites and maintain the very characteristics that attract visitors to Charleston. The short term objectives of cruise line companies cannot be allowed to have a negative effect on these historic districts and residential neighborhoods. Companies with a sense of social responsibility will respond to this, take action and become welcome.

Stephanie Meeks, Executive Director of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, spoke in Charleston on November 15 on the NTHP’s recent efforts to support a study of the true impact of cruise ship visits and support regulation of cruise ship operations at Union Pier. Charleston continues to be on the Watch list for the 11 Most Endangered Places.

Walmart showed significant social responsibility in January 2011 when it agreed, after discussions with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and other groups, to seek a different location for a Superstore originally planned to be built within the Civil War Wilderness battlefield. Perhaps Carnival as the main user of the planned new cruise ship terminal at Union Pier could support the determination of an alternative cruise terminal site and avoid the congestion, noise, pollution and inappropriate ship scale at an historic site?

Since Carnival expects a world class cruise ship terminal, we’re sure you will agree that the rebuild of a derelict shed on Union Pier into a cruise ship terminal at a cost of over $35 million is not a mere “maintenance” project. This is what the SCSPA asserted in its permit application to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in order to sidestep reviews of historic and environmental impacts under the National Historic Preservation Act and National Environmental Policy Act. A federal lawsuit brought by The Preservation Society of Charleston and the Coastal Conservation League challenges the granting of this permit. We expect your Board of Directors would want to know that all required terminal siting considerations have been appropriately reviewed for a facility of which Carnival will be the principal user?

Your refusal to respond to our seven simple questions in prior letters will not result in these issues going away.

We hope you will pay more respect to the legitimate concerns of residents affected by your operations and to the long list of advocates for reasonable limits. For operations at Union Pier, express limits on size and number of cruise ships are a must, in addition to shore power and low sulfur fuel. Our health, our quality of life and the preservation of the nation’s heritage are of vital importance to us—and we would hope of enough importance to you to merit comment and seek solutions.

You state in your corporate Sustainability Report 2010 that “the viability of our business and our reputation depend on being more sustainable and transparent.” The same Report says that “The health of our business is inextricably linked to the health of our communities”. Your HESS Policy says that you will “identify the aspects of our business that impact the environment and take appropriate action to minimize the impact”.

Now is the time for transparency and action with respect to Carnival’s operations in Charleston. Please respond to our seven questions!

Additionally, Carnival Cruise Lines recently announced plans for a new 4,000 passenger ship, and you were cited as saying new ships could replace existing capacity after the possible sale of older ships. The Fantasy may be Carnival’s oldest ship. What are your plans for the Fantasy? The SCSPA has pledged that the city will not see cruise ships larger than those currently visiting Charleston.

 

We continue to look forward to your responses.

 

Sincerely,

Carrie Agnew

Executive Director

Charleston Communities for Cruise Control

 

Encls

 

cc: Gerry Cahill, CEO Carnival Cruise Lines

Stuart Subotnick, Presiding Director

Sir John Parker, Chairman HESS Committee

Lanie Morgenstern, Director of Public Relations Carnival Corp/Carnival Cruise Lines

 

Mayor Joseph P. Riley, City of Charleston

James Newsome, President & CEO SC State Ports Authority