One corporation to pollute them all

The main purpose of this study is to analyse air pollution caused by luxury passenger cruise ships in European waters. The results show that the luxury cruise brands owned by Carnival Corporation & PLC emitted in 2017 in European seas alone 10 times more disease-causing sulphur dioxide than all of Europe’s 260+ million passenger vehicles. Spain, Italy, Greece, France and Norway are the most exposed countries to cruise ship air pollution in Europe. Among the major cruise ports, Barcelona, Palma Mallorca and Venice are the most polluted.

Analysis also reveals that even in sulphur emission control areas (SECAs), where the most stringent marine sulphur fuel standard is mandated, air pollution from cruise ships remains of great concern. In Denmark, for example, whose coasts are entirely within SECAs, cruise ships emitted 18 times more SOX in 2017 than all the country’s 2.5 million passenger vehicles in a year. This is a reflection of both the effectiveness of the fuel quality directive for road transport fuels and the failure to implement equivalent standards for the shipping industry. Ships SO X will still remain considerably large compared to passenger car fleet even after the introduction of the global 2020 marine sulphur cap.