Canada's Globe and Mail reports today that the cruise industry is lobbying Canada lawmakers to try and avoid the clean air regulations passed two months ago by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
As we reported in April, Over Cruise Industry's Objection, IMO Creates Air Pollution Buffer Around U.S. and Canada. The IMO voted to enact regulations requiring cruise ships and other vessel to burn cleaner (lower sulfur) fuel within 200 nautical miles of Canada and the United States. As matters now stand, cruise ship burn nasty bunker fuels which contain a high sulfur content and pose a distinct health hazard to anyone who breathes the non-combustible particles.
Cruise ship smoke is a killer.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has said the changes will save as many as 14,000 lives a year by improving air quality. A comment to the Globe and Mail report is spot on in stating:
"It is outrageous that cruise ship industry proponents would dare consider going to Ottawa in an attempt to influence our politicians on canceling the clean fuel initiatives. Obviously, human lives are being prematurely taken every year and billions of public healthcare dollars are spent throughout North America treating respiratory illnesses brought on by marine emission sources . . . However cruise tourism executives do not see it that way. Visiting cruise tourists buying souvenir trinkets in Victoria gift shops, are given more validity than a human life, degradation to our environment and the millions in future healthcare costs."
After the IMO passed the new regulations, the cruise industry's notorious trade organization, the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA), issued a statement that it supports the “goals and intent” of the new pollution buffer zone. In my last blog on this issue, I wrote: "Hogwash. Over the next few years, you will see the cruise industry try and avoid the new IMO rules."
I was wrong. It did not take a "few years." It's been only 2 months. And CLIA is back to its dirty business.
For additional information, consider reading:
Photograph Gerardo Dominguez, UC San Diego (via UCSD Division of Physical Science "Dirty Smoke from Ships Found to Degrade Air Quality in Coastal Cities")