Cruise ship captain sued in France for air pollution
In Marseille, France’s biggest port, a captain of cruise ship Azura of P&O Cruises has to appear before court because he has infringed on air pollution regulations. Theoretically he can be imprisoned for one year and made to pay a 200.000 euro fine.
The fuel of the cruising ship he was commanding had been controlled in the port of Marseille end of March, and it appeared that the sulphur concentration amounted to 1,68% (the European limit since 2015 is 1,50 for passenger ships and 3,50 for other ships).
The use of heavy fuel not complying to regulations is a common practice in the maritime business. It offers possibilities to lower the fuel costs, something every shipowner is keen on.
Less common is the fact that a prosecutor in Marseille, Xavier Tarabeux, has actually put charges against the captain, and by doing so, has started a new chapter in the struggle against air pollution.
Pollution caused by bigger and bigger ships burning a very heavy and polluting fuel is still increasing and causing harm to Marseille, a port that wants to develop its traffic of cruise ships. The Azura, built in 2010 in Italy, is 290 m long, has 19 decks and can carry 3.597 passengers and 1.226 crew members.
More stringent regulations in 2020
From the 1st of January 2020 the regulations on pollution by ships will be far more stringent. Instead of the 1,50% rule for cruise ships and the 3,50% for all other ships there only will be standard rule anymore: 0,50% of sulphur concentration in fuels for all ships.
Lately the criticism of having left the maritime and aviation sector out of the Paris Climate Agreements about air pollution has grown. Considering that both means of transport expect to be growing seriously in the coming decades, more and more people expect them to apply tougher measures against air pollution.