A list detailing the worst-polluting cruise ships has been published. An analysis from BirdLife Malta, in collaboration with German NGO partner Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union, has deduced that of a total of 90 observed vessels, 21 are currently berthed or will berth in Malta’s Grand Harbour by the end of the year.
Cruise liners are among the highest contributors to Malta’s declining air quality.
The Cruise Ship Ranking for 2019, which has just been published, confirms the amount of port calls scheduled. This figure doesn’t just cover ships that are due to enter the ports, but any vessel entering Maltese waters whose fumes will be passing over the island.
90 vessels were checked for their emission impacts with a particular focus on their contribution to air pollution levels.
Many of these vessels are scheduled to visit Malta, with many returning several times throughout the year. Malta will thus have to face a total of 122 port calls from cruise liners of the worst category. Most of the vessels are still running on engines that burn heavier fuels.
In a stark contrast, only 33 port calls from ships equipped with pollution reduction technology are scheduled.
The findings of this year’s evaluation demonstrate that only a small proportion of cruise ships entering Malta are becoming cleaner, while the industry by large continues to rely on heavy fuels and fails to employ exhaust technology.
A post on Facebook in activism group For OUR Trees today also noted that with Thursdays being turnaround days for many cruise liners, the air quality index readings significantly high in the Grand Harbour area.
The climate footprint of cruise ships is especially worrying – all ships run on fossil fuels, producing enormous greenhouse gas emissions. BirdLife Malta and NABU (BirdLife Germany) have been working closely on a joint project since December 2016, together with other international partners, to deliver an awareness campaign on air pollution generated by cruise ships in the Mediterranean.
The long-term goal of the Together against Air Pollution from Ships project is the establishment of a Emission Control Area (ECA) in the Mediterranean Sea.