Today – Earth Day – is special because our maritime law firm works in a specialized area of the law. Everything we handle is related to the world’s oceans and seas. Earlier today, our superstar legal intern, Caitlin Burke, wrote an excellent article entitled Earth Day – Spotlight on Cruising – A Dirty Business.
We know that whenever we write a really good blog about the disastrous effect of cruise ships on the environment, a cruise fanatic sends us a scathing email or calls to complain. Today was no exception. Our firm has over 7,500 followers on it’s CruiseLaw Twitter page. Shortly after Caitlin published her article on cruise pollution, several long time Twitter cruise fans immediately "unfollowed" us and an equal number of environmentalists became our new "friends" on Twitter.
This type of connection to the internet is a good barometer whether our Cruise Law News articles are effective and "hitting the mark."
After Caitlin’s article came out, the New York Times ran an interesting article entitled "In Antarctic Waters" which discussed the International Maritime Organization’s announcement that large cruise ships will no longer be allowed to burn "heavy fuel" (nasty bunker fuel) in Antarctic waters.
The New York Times welcomed this as a "step in protecting the harsh but delicate polar environment."
The high-sulfur fuel used by cruise ships emit highly polluting and unhealthy particles into the air, and present a potential disaster if the fuel is spilled. Cruise lines use bunker fuels because the cruise industry is largely unregulated and the fuel is cheap, even though it has a disastrous effect on humans and the environment.
The New York Times writes:
"The ban on high-sulfur fuel in Antarctica, which begins in August 2011, will effectively end visits by cruise ships carrying more than 500 passengers. It will also reduce the total number of Antarctic passenger visits from more than 15,000 a year to about 6,400, all of whom will be traveling on smaller, lighter and greener ships.
This is an important step and a welcome respite for the waters. And it will help drive the cruise industry – notorious polluters – to re-examine its essential mission.
After all, what’s the point of visiting the natural wonders of the nautical world if you leave a terrible stain behind when you leave?"