Cruise ships and pollution

The view is pretty spectacular. But it’s what he cannot see that worries MacQueen. Like many cities across the UK, Southampton has such poor air quality it breaches international guidelines, and while the government and local authorities are looking to take action on cars, maritime fuel – the dirtiest and most polluting of all diesels – is on no one’s radar. Not only do the giant cruise liners churn out pollutants at sea, they also keep their engines running when they are docked in places like MacQueen’s home town.

Hmm, OK, should this be something we worry about?

German environment group Nabu claims one medium cruise ship emits as many pollutants as five million cars going the same distance. It says the ships belch out 3,500 times more sulphur dioxide than cars

You know, maybe we should?

– although international rules to reduce sulphur emissions in shipping are due to come into force in 2020.

Ah, no, we already got this, done and dusted.

14 thoughts on “Cruise ships and pollution”

  1. They obviously don’t keep their propulsion engines running in dock – that is bollocks on sticks. Auxiliary engines to provide power – sure, but not the main ones…

    And I thought diesel was good now – isn’t it going to provide all the power we need when the wind drops at night…? You know, that STOR initiative…?

  2. Bloke in North Dorset

    What BiC says the quickest way to kill a Diesel engine is to run it without load. It does take time to wind the engines did and up again so whether or not they do switch them off depends on how long they intend to be in the port.

    They’ll be running generators, under load.

  3. So Much For Subtlety

    Actually it has been known for over a decade that shipping plumes – because of their low quality, high-sulphur content – cause the formation of a certain type of cloud which in turn cools the planet.

    We need more ships not fewer

  4. Bloke in Costa Rica

    While they’re alongside, they’re running the hotel load (pretty much by definition). In many cases that will be partially or wholly derived from onshore power.

    And the air quality in Southampton is fine. This is hysterical bullshit.

  5. A lot of cruise ships are now diesel electric driven, so the number of engines running depends on the circumstances – is the vessel moving or fast alongside. Also the use of low sulphur diesel fuel has been mandatory in European waters for several years already, regardless of any International regulations in the pipeline. The IMO already has this “problem” on the agenda.

  6. We are supposed to believe that Southampton is under a permanent smog because of luxury cruse liners?

    Somebody else said yesterday in another thread that the left doesn’t even bother trying to create (remotely) credible lies anymore.

    Time for an eco-freak Purge as well.

  7. The oil refinery and a chemical works right next door in Fawley might have something to do with Southampton air quality.

  8. They really just hate people having fun. Having people sail rather than go by air isn’t a solution they want to see.

    The figures quoted don’t pass the sniff test for me. Shipping is far and away the most economical form of transport pererson per km in terms of fuel, so I seriously suspect that environmental group is pulling numbers out of their arses.

  9. We have cruise ships dock right by downtown core and they have onshore power, not exactly a difficult problem to fix

  10. Bloke in North Dorset


    But this is cruise ships and therefore by lefty green definition their kms are pointless journeys enjoyed by the rich.


    It’s not technically difficult but as the article I linked to, and others I could have, show it’s expensive.

    Personally I like them all on shore power. Weymouth Harbour was a nightmare when the Condor used to be based there because they had their generators running all night and it’s such a lovely place to lay over.

  11. Here in Port Chalmers we have cruise ships as well as container and log ships alongside. It is rare to see the port empty. All sit there with something running all the time. Our problem is that the southerlys bring a lot of cold air straight from the South Pole,much more of a problem.

  12. From their own paper from 2014 (with spelling and punctuation corrected):

    “Which fuel is used depends on the engines of the ship and the local regulations. In European ports, ships have to burn a fuel with a maximum sulphur content of 0.1 per cent when at berth for two hours or more.”

    So that’s 100 times more sulphur than land vehicular diesel in Europe, not 3,500 times. Additionally, if there’s an OPS (on-shore power supply), they have to use that instead. So if Southampton were bothered, they could just provide one of those instead.

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