After several months of research and calculation, with substantial assistance from Friends of the Earth, the California Air Resources Board, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Coastal Conservation League determined that every time the Carnival Fantasy docks in Charleston, idling its one auxiliary engine for ten hours, the sulfur dioxide pollution invading the community is equal to that of more than 929,000 trucks idling for ten hours.

When the cleanest fuel regulation is phased in by the year 2015, every time the Fantasy docks in Charleston idling its one auxiliary engine for ten hours, the sulfur dioxide pollution will be equal to that of more than 34,000 trucks. That is when the ship’s fuel is at its cleanest!!


Fuel sulfur level

Grams of SO2 at berth for 10 hrs

Number of trucks idling for 10 hrs equivalent

Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) 2.7%










We highly recommend the installation of shore-side power for home-ported ships at the cruise terminal in order to address this serious problem.

The SC State Ports Authority (SPA) says the following regarding air pollution from cruise ships, and the potential of shoreside power:

  1. The SPA “evaluated shore power for its new cruise terminal. The engineering cost estimate was $5.6 million for on-terminal improvements alone. Additionally, the location for a new substation that would be needed to supply the power has not yet been identified or planned.”
  2. Shoreside power’s “cost is astronomical for the relatively small environmental benefit.”
  3. The tricounty area is in compliance with federal air quality standards, so there is nothing to worry about.
  4. Only one port on the U.S. east/gulf coasts has shore-side power.


What is wrong with the above statements from the SPA?

  1. In a Post and Courier article from last year, reporter Robert Behre asked SCE&G about the topic and wrote the utility “would have to enlarge its electrical service to the port site, and the utility would consider doing so, if asked.” There is currently a substation adjacent to the Columbus Street Terminal.
  2. The Coastal Conservation League submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the SPA in March 2012 for any and all information the port had about the investment and implementation of shoreside power, including studies and research. Nowhere in the responsive documents was there a fact-based evaluation by the SPA for shorepower for its new cruise terminal, any engineering estimates, or identification of substations, locations, etc.
  3. In contrast, the Southern Environmental Law Center submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the City of Charleston, and obtained communication from a shorepower company sent to Mayor Riley, in which the author explained he also contacted port representatives on the matter to provide them with a solution.
  1. The Port of New York/New Jersey conducted an analysis of shoreside power, and installed it based on the fact that the citizens near the cruise terminal would save $9 million in health costs per year.
  2. Other cities have shoreside power even when they are meeting federal air quality standards. For 2012, the cities of Juneau, San Diego, and Seattle are in PM 2.5 compliance. San Diego and Seattle, as well as San Francisco and Brooklyn, are meeting PM 10 standards. All of these cities, plus Los Angeles, are in compliance with sulfur oxide standards.
  3. Localized impacts from air pollution occur regardless of whether an area is in compliance with National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). Thousands of peer-reviewed studies have proven this over the years.  The closer people are to the source of the pollution, the greater their risk for serious health problems stemming from the particle pollution in diesel soot. Particle pollution causes things like asthma, asthma attacks, heart attacks, and premature death. Soot from diesel may be more toxic than particle pollution from other dangerous sources—studies indicate that particulate pollution from mobile combustion sources increases daily mortality three times as much as the particulate pollution from coal, and it is probably because fresh diesel exhaust is comprised of particles so small they invade lung tissue and enter the bloodstream, causing effects like cardiovascular inflammation or blood clots.
  4. The World Health Organization in 2012 officially classified diesel as a carcinogen.
  5. When it comes to the implementation of shoreside power, Brooklyn is so far the only east coast/gulf coast port in the United States that has completed installation. However other ports, such as Port Everglades, are considering it. Other cruise ports in North America that have implemented shoreside power are Seattle, Vancouver, Juneau, San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles. Tacoma has invested in shorepower for cargo ships. In Europe, several Italian ports have invested in the technology for cargo ships, and the press recently announced a pilot project for onshore power supply facilities at terminals in the Ports of Immingham, Gothenburg, and Ghent. The State of California has mandated the phasing in of shorepower at all terminal facilities over the next few years.


Click here for the full report.