Cruise Ships Allowed to Spew Toxins in the Caribbean Space

Submitted by Anthony Davis

cruise-shipVenice is visited by 10 cruise ships per day. There is no law which stipulates the use of ultra-low-sulphur diesel in the Mediterranean…More and more Germans love cruising the high seas. However, when it comes to environmental protection many passengers and shipping agencies still turn a blind eye. Great expectations are now expected of the ‘Aida Prima’…Cruise because of the healthy air. The bracing breeze is supposed to be healthy. Cruise ship passengers enjoy the fresh breeze in the Norwegian fjords as well as the snow-white Arctic. Don’t forget the ports which are being visited by more and more ‘dream ships’…In Warnemuende near Rostock, New York, Hamburg or Venice the words ‘bracing breeze’ are a double-edge sword: on wind-still days brown clouds of haze hang over the inner city. In winter there are brown snow flakes among the others, and the residents are afraid of asthma and lung cancer…The Naturschutzbund Deutschland (NABU),  the German Environmental Protection Agency, and Friends of the Earth  (USA) found two years ago that the particulates near cruise ship terminals were 60 times higher than the average in the respective city…Heavy oil is mostly used when they are on the high seas. This contains up to 4.5% sulphur. The  Federal Environment Ministry calls burning this oil, which costs half as much as desulphurized marine diesel, ‘burning garbage on the high seas…Such ships which pollute the environment are not allowed in the Baltic Sea nor the North Sea. Since January 2015 only ship fuels which have 0.1% of sulphur may be used there. As an alternative, desulphurization units on board may be used…A cruise ship without a filter or desulphurization unit can, according to NABU, emit about 450 kilograms of exhaust particulates, 5250 kilograms of NO2 and 7500 kilograms of sulphur dioxide daily. The shipping agencies are allowed to send these ships which pollute the environment to the Mediterranean or to the Caribbean…During the high season about 10 large cruise ships visit Venice  per day. After a short burn out near the pedestrian precinct they leave with smoking chimneys. The air near the Lido can then be worse than being near a brown coal power station – Translated from German magazine Süddeutsche Zeitung (Southern Germany News)

Do the ministers of Health, Tourism, and the Environment know what type of ships are cruising to Barbados?

Are the shipping agencies using those types of ships which are not allowed into the Baltic or North Sea?

I find it very despicable that the said countries which build these ships that pollute the environment with the toxins that are being spewed out of their chimneys, are the ones which say not in our backyard.

This is typical of First World countries that want us to take care of the environment, but themselves don’t give two figs what happens in their quest for sea, sand and sun for their citizens.

The worst of these pollutants are the exhaust particulates which go directly to the lungs, because they are so fine and, like coal dust, cause lung cancer.

In the news release of the WHO dated 12 May, 2016, under the headline “Air pollution levels rising in many of the world’s poorest cities”, it states: “According to the latest urban air quality database, 98% of cities in low- and middle income countries with more than 100 000 inhabitants do not meet WHO air quality guidelines. However, in high-income countries, that percentage decreases to 56%.

“As air quality declines, the risk of stroke,heart disease, lung cancer, and chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma increases for the people who live in them.

“Air pollution is a major cause of disease and death.”

Dr. Flavia Bustreo, WHO Assistant-Director General, Family, Women, and Children’s Health: “When dirty air blankets our cities the most vulnerable urban populations – the youngest, oldest, and poorest – are the most impacted.”

“Ambient air pollution, made of high concentrations of small and fine particulate matter, is the greatest environmental risk to health – causing more than 3 million premature deaths world wide every year.”

“Most sources of urban outdoor air pollution are well beyond the control of individuals and demand action by cities, as well as national and international policymakers to promote cleaner transport, more efficient energy production and waste management.”

Seeing that ships which spew these particulates into the air are allowed to cruise the Caribbean, shouldn’t the countries in which such ships are registered be held accountable for the pollution of the specific countries to which these ships cruise and thereby contaminate the air making the relative populations susceptible to the above diseases and disorders?

The same laws which pertain to ships cruising the North and Baltic seas should also obtain for those cruising everywhere else!

Do you, the shipping companies, realize that some of your compatriots who stay at hotels in the Caribbean will be inhaling the same toxins as the indigenous people?

Or are they immune to such toxins?

Are the lives of those who live in the Caribbean – among them many Europeans and Britons – worth less than those living in Germany or elsewhere in Europe, or the UK?

When the Europeans and Britons who arrive by cruise ships stand at the railings before/after the burn out won’t they inhale more of the polluted air than the indigenous people?

Why are Third and Fourth World countries still being treated like during the days of slavery?

Some years further down the road you will be advising your citizens to desist from visiting the Caribbean, because of its pollution, not remembering that you were one of its predominant polluters with your ships which you gave permission to cruise here knowing full well that they would pollute our environment.

Can someone from the EU Delegation to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, or the British High Commission in Barbados, explain this anomaly of cruise ships that are not allowed to travel to the North Sea nor the Baltic Sea, because of EU environmental protection laws, but are allowed to cruise in the Caribbean Sea although the EU knows that they spew various toxins – and especially particulate matter – into the air and therefore pollute our environment?

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15 Comments on “Cruise Ships Allowed to Spew Toxins in the Caribbean Space”

  1. Well Well & Consequences May 16, 2016 at 2:26 PM #

    The questions you should ask are, even if the Caribbean leaders are aware of the danger to their people’s health because hgey send the cruise lines with no filters to the Caribbean…would they even care…all these ministers are interested in is how many cruise ships visit or home port, even if they have to inflate the numbers themselves and how much foreign exchange they earned….the death of people on the islands to them would be incidental to earning paper money and the politicians would more than likely deny that these dangers to health and life could or does happen.

    Politicians would definitely not want this information public when there are so many people they have to impress with tourism numbers.


  2. chad99999 May 16, 2016 at 3:52 PM #

    The University of the West Indies is supposed to have experts who monitor these things. These questions should be addressed to them as well as to officials in the Ministry of Tourism. Why is it up to politicians to figure this out?


  3. Well Well & Consequences May 16, 2016 at 3:57 PM #

    Chadx9…in case you dont know….everything has to go through the politicians in Barbados, no one is supposed to have independent thought to initiate independent actions…it’s a cesspool of politics of the stinkest variety….they have not matured to the point of indepent freedoms for certain areas of the society like universities etc.

    But why do I need to tell you this….you should know.


  4. Shaft May 16, 2016 at 5:08 PM #

    The UWI with its state of the art equipments should be monitoring along with the Barbados Tourism Board..! Cave Hill Campus is only 1 mile away from the port, how difficult is that…?!


  5. Exclaimer May 16, 2016 at 5:08 PM #

    You forgot to mention that these cruise ships dump their raw sewage into the sea. That they damage our coral beds and when in port a ship requires large quantities of water. They are an environmental disaster for our region.


  6. chad99999 May 16, 2016 at 5:10 PM #

    I think you are wrong. If a group of university-based scientists decided to address this issue, they could get funding through the UN and its regional affiliates, including the regional tourism research centers, the Caribbean Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, or the Pan-American Health Organization, and they could publish their findings and make recommendations.
    Maybe our experts are so lacking in energy and dynamism that they do nothing unless a politician asks them to help. I don’t know that to be the case, but I do know most of the faculty at UWI don’t publish research at the rate you would see in many British and North American universities.


  7. Well Well & Consequences May 16, 2016 at 5:36 PM #

    Maybe the problems lie in them all being too political, suffice it to say, somthing is very wrong that a university that has been around for over 25 years dont do any indepenentd research relating to the island and air function etc or dont publish any finding, all you hear them do a lot is hold political surveys, particularly around election time, something is fundamentally wrong with that picture.

    Especially when they all know that international grants are available for research universites and philanthropists worldwide are always happy to fund this or that research..Beckles should be well aware of this since there is a running joke about him being a prostitute re finding grants and funding, so it is a mystery.


  8. Well Well & Consequences May 16, 2016 at 5:48 PM #

    I believe the below post I copied from Cariblaw best explains the lack of action from scholars and potential researchers at UWI Barbados, small mindedness, pettiness and small island politics prevails in all it’s destructiveness….they put ignorance ahead of safety, the political minded.

    “Unfortunately, the nature of partisan politics in Barbados is so pervasive that even if one does not have a political agenda, one is seen as having one. It is this consideration and the fear of victimisation which may make some academics less keen to publicly add their voices to issues of national concern, especially if they may be perceived as “attacking the government”.

    Bear in mind that these people have families to support as well. While the layperson may contend that academics should rise above these human fears, the fact that most people on here use pseudonyms shows this is a real concern and it is hypocritical to suggest otherwise.

    I also disagree with you academics adding their voice to public discourse will make any difference. Barbadians are PASSIVE and too many are blinded by political allegiance. Academics can write briefs, speak on the TV ad infinitum and it will not change anything. Too many Barbadians are more content to malign the people speaking out and accuse them of having a bias than using their submissions as a catalyst for wider debate and action. That’s the sad reality of the state we are in right now.”


  9. Colonel Buggy May 17, 2016 at 3:09 PM #

    Do you recall a few years ago, when most countries, including Japan, demanded that all cars be fitted with Catalytic converters, and Japan had tens of thousand of used cars on their hands? The conversion of these cars to utilise a catalytic converter was deemed uneconomic,and Japan was left with two options (a) Crush these cars and recycle the metal or (d) ship them out to the Caribbean, as so-called Reconditioned Cars. Perhaps we are paying the price , health wise and don not know, or care.
    If the Ministries of Health , Transport, and the Environment were unable to recognise the dangers of this seemingly small but significant problem, how can we expect them to deal with these mega cruise ships.
    Like the reconditioned cars ,which the Government of Barbados drew a handsome “short pool” on in import duties on these condemn cars, the bottom line on these cruise ships visiting Barbados, is how much can we make off them, and how much can we squeeze the passengers for, when they alight and venture into Bridgetown.
    You would never hear a minister of this government proclaim, that his government would be mad to allow one of these toxic cruise liners into Barbados.
    Like the lady on Bush Hill said about the unsavoury client, ” Ya does need the lil dollar, ya know!”


  10. David May 17, 2016 at 3:41 PM #

    @Colonel Buggy

    And to think we believed we had the infrastructure and discipline to supervise environmental quality read Cahill.


  11. Sam Clarke May 18, 2016 at 5:16 PM #

    An idiot writes:

    “Can someone from the EU Delegation to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, or the British High Commission in Barbados, explain this anomaly of cruise ships that are not allowed to travel to the North Sea nor the Baltic Sea, because of EU environmental protection laws, but are allowed to cruise in the Caribbean Sea [?]”

    The answer to this question is: no. Nobody from the EU delegation or the high commission can explain it. They should not be asked to explain it.

    You remember that stuff in 1966, right? We get to print our own money and raise our own flag. You remember that, right? One of the things that means is that Brussels and London have ZERO SAY in which ships get to Bridgetown. Got it?

    Why do those ships dock here and emit particulates? Probably because: slavery …. Bussa … albinos … albinos … albinos ….


  12. Sam Clarke May 18, 2016 at 5:27 PM #

    Just how uninformed and poorly read do you have to be to think that idiot suits in Brussels make decisions about which ships dock in Barbados?
    And how much of a moron do you have to be to let yourself be guided so much by your own unread ignorance that you put your own ignorance into writing? Who the fuck in Brussels or London decides which ships dock at Barbados?


  13. David May 22, 2016 at 5:41 PM #

    Environmental campaigners slam massive cruiseliners

    Royal Caribbean, who own the world’s largest cruise ship, said at full power its 16-cylinder Wartsila engines will burn 1,147 gallons gallons of fuel an hour – about 80,000 per day.

    Read the full story:

    22 May 2016


  14. Lillie Luffman November 5, 2016 at 9:43 AM #

    Nice text, thanks!


  15. Mike Aquirre November 10, 2016 at 6:02 AM #

    Muito bom


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