The Smart Planet blog has an interesting article about the effects of the ever growing cruise industry upon ports in Asia.
Entitled Hong Kong Contends with Pollution from a Growing Cruise Industry, the article reveals the extent to which cruise lines are still burning bunker fuel while not even equipping their ships with the ability to plug into shore-side electrical power.
The articles states that "emissions from berthed ships are considered the No. 1 contributor to Hong Kong’s severe air pollution problem and are said to account for 40% of greenhouse gases within its borders. Coming from cruise and cargo ships, these emissions outdo that of power plants and road vehicles."
Cruise ships and other large vessels are still burning bunker fuel while in port.
Bunker fuel is the nastiest and deadliest fuel in the world. Burning low-sulfur fuel is more expensive and there is no legal requirement in Hong Kong at this time to use the cleaner fuel.
Without a threat of a fine or some other legal consequence, the cruise industry will always choose the least expensive and most environmentally destructive path.
Check out a non-profit group's Facebook page about ship pollution in Hong Kong.
There are some interesting photos of ships polluting the port with deadly smoke, including the Star Pisces (photo above right). Don't be fooled that this is just a problem over in Hong Kong. Star Cruises has maintained a large ownership of Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Lines for years.
The article explains that Hong Kong’s air pollution is a major health threat and results in deaths in the city estimated between 1,200 and 3,00 per year.
At a cruise forum last week, Pier Luigi Foschi, the chief executive of Carnival Asia, objected to the requirement for cruise ships to use shore-side power. He said it is unrealistic to require ships to use on-shore power because many cruise ships are not equipped to be plugged in. That begs the question why at this late date all cruise ships don't have a big cable that can be hooked up to the clean electrical power at the ports around the world.
You may recall Mr. Foschi was the CEO of Costa Crociere when the Concordia crashed last year. I'm not so sure I would give much weight to anything he says.
Top: Star Pisces - Hong Kong Pollution Watch Facebook Page