As the cruise industry continues to become more eco-friendly, environmental authorities have suggested switching to shore power while vessels are docked in port. Although not all cruise lines are onboard with this idea, port authorities in Halifax are already making preparations to implement shore power for cruise ships.
Halifax will be the first port in Atlantic Canada to implement this form of power for vessels as part of a $10-million project designed to reduce diesel emissions. Although ships built within the last five years are equipped for shore power, not all older vessels can support this technology. Some lines are expressing disapproval of this requirement, but the move to “go green” seems to be trampling over the concerns of the cruise corporations.
“When cruise ships have come to dock here in Halifax, they’ve quite literally had to leave their engines running. They need to do so in order to operate their vessels’ on board equipment while in port,” said Defense Minister Peter MacKay. “That, however, is changing because of today’s announcement and because of the funding that we will invest today.”
The project is sponsored in part by Canada’s federal government, through Transport Canada, who will contribute $5 million to the project while the province of Nova Scotia and the Port of Halifax will contribute $2.5 million each.
The shore power, which is expected to be ready for the 2014 cruise season, will allow one cruise ship at a time to turn off its engine and plug in, saving vessels from releasing toxic emissions that can not only harm residents whose homes are near the ports, but also any marine life that can be affected by the toxins. The ships that are not equipped to receive external power will continue to generate their own electricity, but a complete overhaul of the cruise industry might not be far behind. As environmentalists struggle to prove that cruise ships leave a lasting negative impact on maritime ecosystems, cruise operators themselves must consider making adjustments to reduce their imprint on the environment.
Although the main concern for cruise lines is cost, the benefits in the long run will far exceed the amount of money that will be spent to modify vessels. According to Transport Canada, switching to shore power will result in an annual decrease of 123,000 liters of fuel and 370,000 kilograms of greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions.
“We know Nova Scotians want good jobs and a thriving tourism industry,” Graham Steele, the MLA Halifax Fairview, said in a statement. “The province is supporting the businesses and workers that depend on the cruise ship industry, creating quieter and cleaner conditions for visitors and Nova Scotian families, and positioning Nova Scotia as a more attractive destination.”
Cruise lines have already been receiving criticism for their lack of environmental concern, in addition to some lines’ lax safety regulations. Switching to shore power might be very beneficial to the environment, but crewmembers will have to learn how to work with the new system, which might lead to accidents and injuries for crew and passengers. It is important for all passengers and crewmembers to know that whenever their rights are violated and are hurt, they can turn to a cruise accident attorney for assistance in filing a case and protecting their rights, such as the experienced attorneys at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A.
Photo Credit: cbc.ca