The environmental footprint of cruise ships infopost

Cruise cruises are one of the fastest growing sectors in mass tourism. According to data from the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), 24 million passengers will board in 2016, a huge increase from 2006 (15 million) and let alone 1980 (1.4 million) . But, have we ever wondered what is the pollution generated by a large cruise ship? On the occasion of the first commercial voyage of the largest cruise ship in history, the Harmony of the Seas, which will arrive at the port of Barcelona from Southampton on June 5, the The Guardian has noted this issue and the data is alarming.

Analysts consulted by The Guardian suggest that ships of this size, true floating cities, burn about 150 tons of fuel a day, emitting more sulfur than several million cars, more CO2 than traffic of a medium-sized city and more particles than hundreds of city buses in London. According to Bill Hammings, an expert in nautical transport, cruise ships consume much more energy than container ships, and even when they use low sulfur fuel – which they are forced to do when they are close to the coast – their pollution is a hundred times worse than the highway diesel. CLIA ensures that the sector is investing heavily in technologies that alleviate its atmospheric footprint, but according to Daniel Rieger, from the German environmental group Nabu, a single cruise ship emits as many polluting substances “as five million cars making the same journey”, since they use ” heavy fuel that would be treated as hazardous waste on land.”

Southampton, Europe’s busiest cruise terminal, is one of nine cities in the UK that exceeds the WHO’s maximum air pollution levels, despite having little industrial activity.