resident Lisa-Marie Murphy told Alan Jones on his radio show in 2015 that she was “shocked” to learn of the toxins in the fumes. “One of my daughters gets a splitting headache almost every day when the ships come in, and she doesn’t want to go to school,” Murphy said. “These are chemicals you don’t want around your kids.”
The problem was eventually identified as the pollutants from the diesel fuel, which is a carcinogen, in the cruise ships. After extensive lobbying, the community finally managed to get a NSW parliamentary inquiry into the issue in 2015. They made some concessions from that; from January 1, 2020, cruise ships were required to switch to fuel with 0.5 percent sulfur one hour after entering an Australian port (it’s 0.1 percent in the US and Europe).
They also won from the government the promise that the ships would be forced to switch to shore power when docked, which is less polluting. The NSW Port Authority announced this earlier this month that two shore power berths would be available in the Bays Port Precinct (Glebe and White Bay) to run on renewable energy by the end of 2024. This would cut CO2 emissions by 14,000 tons a year, taking the equivalent of 4,000 cars off the road, it said, adding it would also reduce noise by 10 decibels.
This means that residents will continue to experience the health effects of these ships until the end of 2024, i.e. in two years’ time. How is that fair?
There is no doubt that cruising is a very popular segment of the travel market and consumers deserve access to a product that offers so much fun and value for money. I am also confident that Carnival enforces the COVID-19 guest protocols listed on its websitethat all guests must be fully vaccinated (including boosters) and must also have a self-administered negative RAT within 24 hours of boarding or a negative PCR within 48 hours.
But it’s hard to see how, in a new wave of COVID-19, a foreign company can waive its responsibilities to Australian taxpayers by simply releasing medically compromised passengers into our health system. Again.
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