The Friends of the Earth (FOE) non-profit organization just released its "Cruise Ship Report Card" for 2014. In a press release, the FOE states that "cruise ships dumped more than a billion gallons of sewage in the ocean this year, much of it raw or poorly treated . . "
The amount of raw sewage discharged from cruise ships is truly staggering. Cruise ships are permitted to dump untreated raw fecal matter directly into the ocean, just three miles or more from shore.
For anyone who knows the cruise industry’s dismal environmental record, the fact that cruise ships dump raw sewage from the bowels of its ships is hardly new. But what’s remarkable this year is that the entire cruise industry – through its trade organization Cruise Line International Organization (CLIA) – refused to respond to Friends of the Earth’s requests for information on pollution-reduction technologies. The FOE believes that the cruise industry is trying to stifle scrutiny of dirty cruise ship environmental practices
The Good News
The FOE ranked Disney Cruise Line, a/k/a Magical Cruise Company, as the most environmentally responsible line, earning an "A" for sewage treatment.
The Bad News
The worst offender is Carnival Cruise Line by a long shot. Carnival has the world’s largest fleet of 24 cruise ships but, according to the FOE, only two ships with advanced sewage treatment technology. It earned an "F" for sewage treatment again this year.
According to the FOE, "over 40 percent of the 167 ships in operation still operate using waste treatment technology that’s more than 35 years old."
The Sad News
The FOE also grades cruise ships for air pollution. Unfortunately, most cruise lines burn filthy high-sulfur fuels including nasty bunker fuels. According to the EPA, each day an average cruise ship is at sea it emits more sulfur dioxide than 13 million cars and more soot than 1 million cars.
You can see a copy of the report here.
Earlier this year, we published videos of MSC crew members dumping bags of plastic and oily discharge into a marine sanctuary from a cruise ship. Many crew members state that this is common practice at night. The FOE gave MSC an "F."
All cruise lines received an "F" for their lack of transparency.