CHARLESTON CODE OF CRUISE SHIP CONDUCT
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.