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Large cruise companies to switch fuel at berth


(31July 2013 Press Release) Friends of the Earth (HK) has succeeded again in getting one more cruise liner to switch to low sulphur fuel at berth. The Sun Princess is a cruise liner owned by Carnival, the world largest cruise company, which is currently berthed at Ocean terminal, will be leaving Hong Kong tomorrow. The fuel switch of the Sun Princess follows the Mariner of the Seas from the Royal Caribbean (RCCL), which was the first cruise liner berthing at Kai Tak Cruise Terminal in June 2013 that also switched fuel as a response to FoE (HK)’s request.


Carnival and RCCL are the world largest and second largest cruise companies respectively, their promise to switch fuel has symbolic meaning as they are frequent users of the two cruise terminals in Hong Kong. From June 2013 to December 2014, cruise liners from the two companies will account for over 85% and 50% of the cruise liners berthing at Kai Tak Cruise Terminal and the Ocean Terminal respectively.


Ship emissions are the largest air pollution source in Hong Kong, particularly with regards to sulphur dioxide emissions. The fuel used by ocean going vessels has a sulphur content ranging from 2.8-3.5%, which is 2,800 to 3,500 times that of the Euro-5 diesel currently used by diesel vehicles in our city. According to an international study, a cruise liner at berth for 24 hours will have emission level similar to the emissions from 12,000 vehicles driven for a day. The main air pollutant from ships is sulphur dioxide which causes respiratory illnesses; and people with heart diseases, chronic lung diseases and asthma are likely to be affected. Such pollution could be reduced significantly if cruise liners switch to 0.1% sulphur content fuel at berth. 


To keep putting pressure to the cruise companies, FoE (HK) has launched an on-line global petition, to encourage everyone to send an email to the two cruise companies requesting that they continue to reduce air pollution in Hong Kong by switching fuel for their upcoming visits, as this will also serve as a good model for the cruise industry. We also request other cruise liners to switch fuel to protect the public health of Hong Kong residents and tourists. FoE (HK) will regularly update the list of cruise liners who are switching fuel as a way to help safeguard public health. The petition page is:



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