Simone Kearney Rodriguez is looking forward to cashing in on Saturday’s first cruise ship passenger arrival in Victoria, B.C. after the cancellations of the last two cruiseseasons due to COVID-19.
The Beaver Gift Shop’s owner claims that her family business almost collapsed without the support of hundreds, thousands of cruise tourists who have kept it afloat for more 30 years.
“We’re still alive but it took everything I had to keep going,” she said to CBC.On the Island.
She’s not alone: According to the Tourism Industry Association of B.C. (TIA), cruise ships contribute $2.7 billion per year to the province’s economy. This money supports tourism-oriented companies in coastal cities such as Victoria, Vancouver, Prince Rupert.
Bruce Williams, CEO of Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, stated that “We are a tourist city”. He spoke to me in the James Bay neighbourhood where docked tourists stockpile candy and gifts.
“These businesses have always relied on tourism and some of these are down 80-90 per cent of their revenue.”
B.C. will be visited by more than 300 ships. Between now and November, more than 300 ships will be visiting B.C.
The first ship to arrive at B.C.The Koningsdam, part the Holland America line, is the first ship to arrive on B.C.
The ship hosts a seven day cruise from San Diego (Calif.) to Vancouver and will arrive in Victoria on Saturday.
Federal regulations require that cruise shippassengers who arrive in Canada from the Caribbean must be fully vaccinated. They must also be tested for COVID-19.
Dr. Horacio BACH, University of British Columbia’s medical faculty, said that cruise companies seem to have learned from the pandemic’s early days, when COVID-19 epidemics forced them to stay at sea for several weeks. Now, they have strong testing regimes and medical facilities to prevent future problems.
Recent research by environmental organizations has shown that the industry is using the province’s sensitive coast to dump polluted wastewater. This is bad news both for the environment and for business.
Barford claims that cruising causes more greenhouse gas emissions than travel by air, and lax Canadian regulations mean that billions of litres potentially hazardous sewage, greywater, and washwater are likely to be dumped in B.C. each year.
Stand.earth released an estimate last July that found the environmental benefits of cancelling cruises to be “astonishing”.It showed 220 million litres (1.8 billion) of greywater and 31 billion (31 billion) litres (was water) that were not in the Salish or Great Bear seas.
Greywateris a byproduct of the drainage of sinks and galleys. The cruise ship scrubbers that are mounted on the vessel’s exhaust pipe pull in seawater and filter out sulphur oxide pollutants to create washwater.
In a March report from World Wildlife FundCanada’s vessel dumping saw scrubber washwater account for 97% of all generated waste. It is 100,000 times more acidic that seawater.
The report showed that cruise ships were the largest producers of wastewater, despite only 2 percent of the 5,546 ships that were studied in Canadian waters in 2019.
U.S. vs. Canadian regulations
Barford claims that the B.C. laws governing cruise ships are not as strict as those in California. California, where ships can’t use scrubbers and must burn cleaner fossil fuels, and Alaska, where engineers monitor environmental practices and report on problems, have laws that govern the coast.
Barford believes this is what should happen in Canada.
Transport Canada, which regulates cruise ships, will be releasing its April 4th regulations Announced stricter measures For discharging greywater or blackwater (wastewater from toilets and bathrooms). But these regulations are voluntary.
Transport Canada stated that “The Government of Canada plans on making these changes permanent through regulations, but appreciates the willingness of cruise ship industries to pursue these steps in the interim,” in a statement.
The B.C. cannot ban scrubbers, insist on cleaner fuel, or place observers aboard vessels. According to Barford, the coast will continue bearing the brunt “prioritizing profit above ocean health and communities.”
Significant carbon emissions are also generated by the industry.
According to the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union in Germany, a single cruise ship carrying 4,000 passengers can emit as much carbon dioxide than 85,000 cars.
This is a challenge for Victoria’s climate goals. B.C. reported that at the end of 2019, B.C.The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority reported that the last full cruise season ended in 2019 and that the equivalent of 12,136 tonnes of carbon dioxide was being emitted by cruise ships and their infrastructure. This is roughly three percent of total Victoria region emissions.
Vancouver Fraser Port Authority announced that ships at anchor or berth can no longer discharge scrubber water. In That announcementThe authority stated that it will eventually ban scrubber systems entirely.
Transport Canada did not respond to CBC on Friday afternoon when asked if they were considering banning scrubbers and adding observers to cruise ships in Canadian waters.
B.C.B.C. The IslandFriday: The federal government is partnering with the industry this season in order to clean up cruising.
Fleming said that the post-pandemic regime for cruise ships in relation to discharges in Canadian coastal waters would be much stricter.
The Island8:56We spoke with BC’s Minister Of Transportation and Infrastructure to discuss the upcoming cruise ship season.
He stated that the province is considering installing shore power in Victoria to allow cruise ships the option of plugging into and running on “clean, renewable energy” instead of burning bunker fuel. This will reduce emissions.
According to the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority ships account for 96.3 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions at city’s cruiseterminal.
Our planet is changing. So is journalism. This story is partOur Changing Planet,A CBC News initiative to explain and show the effects of climate change, and what is being done to address them.