The "environmental report card" for the cruise industry is out and the grades for some of the major cruise lines are ugly.
Costa, Crystal and P&O Cruises all received failed grades on the report card prepared by the highly respected environmental group Friends of the Earth ("FOE"). The non-profit organization analysis the cruise lines’ environmental footprint in terms of sewage treatment and air pollution reduction. FOE handed these three polluting cruise lines a "F."
The fact that Crystal is at the bottom of the class is no surprise. It has always been an environmental scoundrel.
In 2003, the Crystal Harmony dumped around 35,000 gallons of grey water, sewage, and bilge water in a beautiful marine sanctuary in Monterey Bay. According to the L.A. Times, Crystal Cruises said it didn’t have to report the incident to authorities because it broke no laws. It is "perfectly legal" under maritime laws to discharge even untreated wastewater more than 12 miles offshore, and the ship was 14 miles offshore at the time, said Crystal spokeswoman Mimi Weisband.
"We didn’t break any law," Weisband said. "We did break a promise." The city of Monterey thereafter banned all Crystal cruise ships for life.
In the 2010 FOE report card, Crystal Cruises also received the lowest grade – "F." Cruise spokesperson Weisband responded by saying that Crystal Cruises "deserved an A … if not an A+."
At the other end of the polluting spectrum is Disney which received a "A-." This month the Disney Wonder will be arriving at the Port of Miami and by 2014 there will be four Disney cruise ships ported in the state of Florida with the Magic joining the Dream and Fantasy in Port Canaveral.
You can read the scores of all of the cruise lines and about 150 of their cruise ships here. Big boys Carnival and Royal Caribbean received "D+’s." In the last environmental report card in 2010, Carnival received a "F" and Royal Caribbean received a "D-."
Expect the Cruise Line International Association ("CLIA"), which is fighting against clean air regulations and opposing restrictions on deadly bunker/ high sulfur fuels, to make a statement today claiming that the FOE report card is "not scientific," "biased," "arbitrary," "flawed" or whatever. Sounds like what I told my mom when my ninth grade teacher gave me a "D" in Algebra II after I didn’t study all year.
December 6, 2012 Update: The Sun Sentinel newspaper covered the story yesterday. Its article contained the usual denials by the cruise lines. CLIA is quoted saying: the report card "lacks basis in fact, science and law . . . The grades assigned cruise lines and their ships are based upon arbitrary, faulty and misleading measures."
Consider some of our other articles:
Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas cruise ship – AlaskanLibrarian’s Flickr photostream