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First Commitment by Cruise Berthing at Kai Tak Cruise to Switch Oil


(5 June 2013, press release)  On Wednesday 12 June, the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal will officially open, and Friends of the Earth (HK) has fought for 6 months for berthing cruises to switch to low-sulphur diesel fuel to protect the health of local residents.  Previously tight-lipped, The Royal Caribbean Cruise Company broke its silence today about the fuel switch, and its first berthing cruise, “Mariner of the Sea”, will switch to less than 0.1% sulphur content diesel when berthed.  Friends of the Earth believes that, 'This is the best example of corporate social responsibility, and we expect other cruise liners and ocean-going vessels to follow suite.'


Ship emissions have become the largest source of air pollution in Hong Kong, and pollution pressures in the district will be exacerbated once the Kai Tak cruise terminal is enabled.  Since its inception, Friends of the Earth has sought through different channels to encourage Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines to fulfil their social responsibilities by switching to low-sulphur diesel fuel when berthing to protect Kai Tak residents, who have the right to clean air.  Recently, residents have gathered residents’ signatures, organized 39 District Councils from Wong Tai Sin, Kowloon City and Kwun Tong to issue a joint letter to the cruise line, and complained about cruise company’s polluting practices to international bodies


Under continuous pressure, the company has finally responded saying that while sailing heavy oil fuel will have 3% sulphur content, but will switch to fuel of 0.1% sulphur content, and will participate in the Hong Kong Government’s port facilities and light dues waiver program . 


Friends of the Earth (HK) believes that the Royal Caribbean Cruise companies’ switch to higher-costing but less-polluting fuels can significantly reduce sulphur dioxide emissions (by 70%) down to a seventh of former emissions.  Although Friends of the Earth is sure of this, it urges cruise liners to commit to switching to low sulphur fuel upon entering Hong Kong waters to reduce air pollution in the cross-strait air of Victoria Harbour.


Friends of the Earth (HK) points out that: at the moment, only this first ocean mariner has voluntarily committed to changing oil, an hopes that others will follow the example of this cruise, including cruises berthing at the Ocean Terminal. 


Simultaneously, we remind the government of the necessity to expedite the pace of legislation on fuel switch, and stop letting the industry’s resistance to delay the process.


Additionally, the government should speed up the construction of shore power facilities and further reduce pollution of cruises.  Taking Diamond Princess, the third cruise to be moored at Kai Tak as an example.  Dismond Princess has its shore side power facilities on board, but they cannot be used when they berth at Kai Tak since the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal is so backward and we still cannot see the date when shore power facilites to be launched.

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