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In 2006, Alaskans passed an initiative limiting harmful discharges from cruise ships. Under pressure from the cruise industry, the State weakened the requirements of the initiative. A compromise passed by the Legislature in 2009 set back the date for full implementation of the discharge rules until 2016, but required the industry to use the “most technologically effective” treatment methods in the interim.

DEC’s (Department of Environmental Conservation) 2010 cruise ship discharge permit ignored the plain language of the law, allowing every ship to continue discharging pollutants at current levels by claiming any technology already in use would be considered the most effective, even though DEC’s own data demonstrated that some systems worked far better than others.

The court noted, “The systems are manufactured by different companies, employ different technologies, and achieve disparate results in removing ammonia, copper, nickel and zinc from the water.” Explaining that “the final permit includes six different sets of pollution limits, depending on the manufacturer of the treatment system currently installed on each ship,” the court is requiring DEC to demonstrate how this approach complies with the law’s requirement to use the most technologically effective methods.

Campaign to Safeguard America’s Waters and Friends of the Earth asked Earthjustice to bring the case to protect Alaska’s water quality because Alaskans depend on clean water to ensure the health and survival of fishery resources. The permit decision will now return to the State for further review. Ships will be allowed to continue discharging under the 2010 permit in the interim.


I know that many of the companies do a lot to help preserve the environment. I believe that the Alaskan authorities have plans afoot to stop ships that are using heavy fuel oil. Anyone know anything about that?

A Cruise Ship Somewhere

Did you know that the latest cruise ships are going to great lengths to reduce their impact on the environment?
The latest Celebrity ships have solar panels fitted which generate power for onboard use.
Windows on Royal Caribbean ships have a special window tint to keep the temperature lower on their ships and therefore reduce the use of air conditioning.
The shower heads on Crystal ships are of the ‘Low Flow’ variety which reduce water useage by up to 50% and NCL send tonnes of used cooking oil to organic farmers in Miami and Hawaii which is then converted into bio diesel for their machinery.

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