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Sydney cruise ship sulphur clash set to kick up big stink

October 13, 2014 Cruise, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59The issue of cruise ship fumes while in port has hit the fan in New South Wales.

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is due to face an NSW Government Upper House parliamentary inquiry today over the issue – specifically in regard to the White Bay Cruise Terminal in Balmain.

Since the AUD 57 million new cruise facility opened last year, nearby residents say ocean liners have been endangering their health through sulphur pollution by keeping their engines running while docked.

According to revelations in Sydney’s Sun Herald newspaper yesterday, the problem stems from a decision by former planning minister Tony Kelly in 2011. When the former NSW Labor government chose White Bay over Barangaroo as the site of Sydney’s second cruise terminal, to cater for up to 170 ships annually, Kelly did not order a ship-to-shore power source.

As ships have to get their power from somewhere, every cruise ship that uses the terminal, including last week’s Pacific Pearl and Pacific Jewel, has kept its engines running while in port, the paper reports.

The conflict is creating friction between the cruise industry and the NSW government as Sydney heads into another record cruise season.

According to the paper, Carnival has threatened to stop using the White Bay terminal.

Part of the problem, the Sun-Herald says, is that Australian regulations allow up to 35 times the concentrations of sulphur emissions permitted in North American and European ports.

Labor planning spokesman, Luke Foley, told NSW Parliament the Pacific Jewel, when berthed for just nine hours, emitted sulphur dioxide equivalent to the emissions of 28.5 million diesel-fuelled cars.

Written by Peter Needham

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