The cruise tree threatens the oceans – News Knowledge: Nature

When in April the largest cruise ship in the world, Symphony of the Seas, moored in the port of Palma, angry residents kept protest banners in the air. The inscription: "Horror of the Seas". This is in any case as far as the exhaust gases that pull from the cruise ships to the port cities.

The SonntagsZeitung compared the emission values ​​of the major suppliers TUI Cruises and Aida Cruises in the past six years. The result: the consumption of fossil fuels and the emission of toxic gases is increasing dramatically.

In the fleet of TUI Cruises, consumption of the particularly dirty fuel tripled heavy fuel oil between 2012 and 2017. Last year alone, it rose by 28 percent to 115,000 tons. This is problematic because the combustion of heavy oil leads to emissions of sulfur, nitrogen and particulate matter. The exhaust fumes pollute the climate and can cause health problems in port cities such as asthma attacks. Also the CO2Emissions have increased since 2012, from around 180,000 tonnes to 400,000 tonnes. Reason for the increase is the cruise boom. Due to the increasing demand, TUI Cruises has expanded its fleet from two to six ships in recent years.

Almost every year a new ship arrives at the fleet of Aida Cruises. The consumption of heavy fuel oil is at a comparable level as in 2012, but the consumption of marine gas oil has risen considerably, from 13,000 to 80,000 tons. The combustion of marine gas oil produces sulfur emissions, although in smaller quantities than heavy fuel oil. The sulfur dioxide forms sulfuric acid, which acidifies the soil and water in coastal areas when it rains. The CO2Emissions increased last year by 15 percent to 700,000 tons. In 2012 they were still around 500,000 tons.

Emissions will continue to rise

No other tourist segment grows as fast as cruises. Meanwhile, the latest figures for the 2018 season are available. They show that the flight on the ships takes on unprecedented dimensions. The trade association Clia expects 28 million cruise passengers worldwide for the current year. An increase of 1.3 million within a year. Especially the Mediterranean and the Caribbean have been affected. This year alone, 17 new seagoing cruise ships with a capacity of 19,000 extra passengers are sailing. The number of cruise ships in the order portfolios of European shipping companies reaches record levels. 66 new ships will be delivered in 2021. Currently around 450 cruise ships operate worldwide.

TUI Cruises and Aida Cruises are among the largest providers on the Swiss market, besides the Geneva-based company MSC and the Aida Sister Costa. Swiss is only a part of 2% of European cruise passengers, but they are disproportionately represented in terms of population among guests.

An increase in pollutants can not be prevented in a growing company, says Lucienne Damm, Environmental Officer at TUI Cruises. But per capita the pollutants have been taken off their fleet, thanks to more efficient ships and new exhaust systems. "Our new buildings run for 24 hours with an exhaust gas purification system that filters out pollutants from the exhaust gasses.In port areas we use catalysts that filter up to 85 percent of nitrogen oxides." TUI Cruises will use low-emission LNG for new vessels that will be operational from 2024 and 2026. to be. "We have no illusions. The emissions will continue to rise. That is part of the success. "Aida Cruises did not want to comment on the absence of the sustainability officer.

No long-term solution

Niels Jungbluth sees exhaust gas cleaning as a step in the right direction, but not a long-term solution. He is director of ESU-Services, a research and consultancy firm of Schaffhausen in the area of ​​life cycle analyzes. Since exhaust technology today, intercepted exhaust fumes are being discharged on the high seas, the problem of air in the sea is shifting. Although the use of liquefied natural gas reduces sulfur emissions, it does not help the biggest problem of climate change, such as CO2Do not reduce emissions.

«An incredible amount of money is available for cruise passengers. They could push environmental technologies and set new standards for the environment shipping "says Daniel Rieger of the German Nature Protection Association, one of the toughest opponents in the sector, there is no excuse for using heavy fuel oil." The ships have a fuel tank for heavy fuel oil and one for marine diesel. You can easily switch to marine diesel at any time. This is more expensive, but cleaner. "The dirty fuel has been banned from road traffic for a long time." This is ultimately the incineration of hazardous waste on the high seas. "There is an urgent need for better regulation for the industry.

The shipping sector is exempt from the Climate Change Agreement in Paris. In April the International Maritime Organization decided that CO2Emissions from shipping should be halved by 2050. But this is only a voluntary commitment. From 2020, ships on the high seas may only use fuel with a sulfur content of 0.5 percent. The sulfur content in most regions of today has a threshold of 3.5 percent.

Bad news for port cities

Cruise passengers contribute significantly more to exhaust pollution than other tourists. The exhaust fumes per person are many times higher than a day in the hotel or a day trip, says Niels Jungbluth. In addition, for Switzerland, the long journey by bus, train or plane. The production of the ships is also energy-intensive. A day on a cruise ship, which covers about 530 kilometers, corresponds to the environmental impact of a 1,150 kilometers per person, namely the journey from Lugano to Amsterdam.

According to calculations of the ESU services, an average cruise causes about 115 kilograms of CO2 per day and passenger. For comparison: an overnight stay in a Swiss hotel costs an average of 12 kilograms of CO per hotel guest2 to, so 9 times less. Niels Jungbluth: "Depending on the type of ship, the cruise passenger causes at least 25 times more emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and particulate matter than a normal hotel guest." However, the numbers are different. "The longer a ship is at sea, the faster it sails and the higher the engine power, the higher the emissions."

"Ships let the engines run to produce electricity and the air pollution is considerable."Denis Ody, WWF

The increasing exhaust emissions are not the only result of the cruise wave, says Denis Ody, cruise expert of the WWF environmental organization. "The engines create an incredible sound that disturbs the marine animals, it collides with whales and the ships end up in particularly sensitive sea areas." If the wastewater on board is not treated properly, the dirty water ends up in the sea. The situation in port cities is also worrying. "If the ports do not offer shore power, cruise ships will have their engines running to produce electricity, and then the air pollution in the city will be considerable." A medium-sized cruise ship produces as many exhaust gases as an agglomeration with 10,000 inhabitants, which produces energy with old thermal power plants.

In June, the city council in Marseilles discussed a charge on cruise passengers. The revenues should have been used to prevent air pollution. The proposal of the Socialist Group did not find a majority in Parliament. The issue of exhaust fumes from ships is now being heard by the court in Marseilles. The cruise ship Azura of the operator P & O Cruises would have exceeded the legal limits for sulfur emissions in March. The captain is threatened with a maximum of one year in prison and € 200,000 in punishment.

(Sunday newspaper)

Created: 25.08.2018, 23:56 clock

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