August 5, 2013 in Breaking News

Letter to Senator Durbin Considering Port Cities

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With recent government attempts to obtain more respect for cruise PASSENGERS’ rights and safety, we are hoping to also bring attention to the same for cruise PORT CITIES.

July 30, 2013

The Honorable Richard Durbin
711 Hart Senate Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Durbin:

We thank you for your efforts to increase cruise lines responsibility to American passengers.

As a well-subscribed non-profit in Charleston SC seeking legally binding regulations for cruise lines to adhere to when in port, may we suggest you consider our Cruise Ship Code of Conduct as well?

The Code was written as voluntary guidelines cruise lines visiting our city could adhere to. We believe it can easily be adapted to specific/applicable concerns of other port Cities.  We have mailed it to Carnival Corporation and its Board four times, with no response. Carnival is a Panama corporation which pays little or no U.S. taxes, yet its cruise ships place large environmental and quality of life burdens on communities.

In addition, our organization has been actively seeking the requirement of shore power by the home port cruise ships (currently Carnival Fantasy, which visits at least 60 times a year) and port of call ships.  The use of shore power to address health concerns is increasingly common, especially in the use of new terminals—Charleston has one in the planning stages.

We believe that, as important as it is for passengers on a voyage be protected, so should the cities—and citizens therein—the cruise lines use as a home port base.  They place burdens on City infrastructure, residents, businesses and ambiance.  Too often, as seen with Mobile, San Diego and Norfolk, cruise companies can simply change their mind, leaving the purpose built facilities abandoned.

We hope you will consider our concerns, outlined in detail on our website, and consider including our Cruise Ship Code of Conduct among the actions you seek on behalf of the American people.

The cruise lines, Carnival specifically in this case, have been totally unresponsive regarding requests for dialogue, explanation of different practices in various ports and the lack of implementation of their own Sustainability Report as it pertains to historic and or environmentally sensitive port cities.

With regards,

Carrie Agnew
Executive Director, C4

cc:     Sen. Jay Rockefeller


ENCLOSURE – 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.



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