This year, our cruise ship accident attorneys have seen our fair share of vessels failing health inspections, accidents both onboard and ashore, and even criminal activity. But while we are here to represent those who have been wronged, another group takes charge of rating ships according to how they impact the environment. The group, Friends of the Earth, released the 2012 edition of its Cruise Ship Report Card, which documents how the cruise industry and its many vessels affect the environment. The group graded 15 cruise lines and the 148 ships. What the group discovered was rather alarming. Since the last report card was released in 2010, cruise lines haven’t done much to reduce their air and water pollution impact on the places and communities their ships call on.
The best grade was given to Disney Cruise Line. The line received an “A-” and was put in the “most improved” category again. In 2010, Disney was graded a “C-” but has worked on reducing its air emissions and brought up its grade. Five other lines were able to improve their environmental impact grades as well.
However, there were some cruise lines that didn’t do so well, representing a trend within the industry of irresponsibility when it comes to reducing their environmental impact. This year, three lines were issued an “F” grade, two of which were new to the list. Even worse, more than half of the ships that were graded in 2010 either did not improve at all or only made minor changes, including the popular “Fun Ship,” Carnival Cruise Line.
“Carnival Cruise Lines, a company with the largest fleet of ships in the world with 24 vessels, and whose parent, Carnival Corporation, also owns several other companies on the report card, actually improved from an ‘F’ in 2010 to a ‘D+’ this year,” said Marcie Keever, oceans and vessels project director at Friends of the Earth and author of the report card. “However, Carnival’s grade improved due to its single ship operating in Alaska and its installation of shorepower on two of its ships. Imagine if Carnival implemented these changes across its entire fleet.”
While there were six cruise lines that managed to improve their rankings from 2010, the cruise industry as a whole has yet to take decisive action to reduce air pollution. Ten of the 15 lines reviewed received an “F” in the air pollution category, with only Disney and Princess Cruises achieving any significant improvement.
“For the third time, Friends of the Earth has found that many cruise lines are still not doing enough to limit the environmental impact of their ships,” added Keever. “From ending the use of dirty fuel that pollutes the air to stopping the disgusting practice of dumping partially treated sewage and other waste into the sea, it’s time for the cruise industry to clean up its act. The unfortunate reality is that, at present, many cruises harm marine ecosystems and the health of people who live near ports of call. In addition, while some ships and lines have improved, there are cruise lines that refuse to make the necessary upgrades that would protect the ecosystems they travel in and, in fact, actively work to oppose stronger shipping regulations that would protect public health and the environment – like the North American Emission Control Area.”
All cruise lines’ and ships’ grades, along with information about the grading methodology, can be found at www.foe.org/cruise-report-card.