Tasmania Cruise Ship

Tasmania’s Environmental Watchdog To Monitor Cruise Ship Bunker Fuel Emmisions

Posted: September 11, 2017

A record number of cruise ships will dock at Tasmanian ports this summer, raising environmental concerns and causing division inside the tourism industry.

The quantity of cruise ships has dramatically increased in two years and 138 ships will visit Hobart’s Macquarie Wharf, Burnie, Port Arthur and Wineglass Bay, beginning next month.

Some of those ships will burn bunker fuel at port, a low-grade fuel that produces sulfur dioxide.

Surprisingly, the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) will screen air quality around Hobart’s port to determine if cruise ships are polluting at hurtful levels.

The air will be tested at regular intervals from gear set up close to the CSIRO.

EPA chief Wes Ford said he would be berating the cruise lines if ships were consuming the fuel superfluously.

“The point of the monitoring is to see if we can get a signal from the cruise ships being here and whether we can actually detect the level of sulphur dioxide emissions,” Mr Ford said.  

“It will also give the community a level of confidence that those emissions are within the national standards.”  

Hobart City Council Greens Alderman Helen Burnett wanted authorities to go much further and follow Sydney in prohibiting low-grade fuel from being burnt when at port in Hobart.

Burnett said she would be pushing the chamber to keep in touch with the State and Federal governments calling for a ban.

“Sydney’s ban was a result of political pressure, and it’s high time we saw the same sort of standards for Hobart,” she said.  

“We need to see a reduction in the emissions of cruise ship fuels.”  

Mr Ford said he didn’t see the need for a ban yet.

“I think the number of cruise ships that are coming to Hobart are significantly lower than Sydney, but we’ll soon find out over this summer what the level of emissions are,” he said.  

Tourism Industry Council Tasmania chief executive Luke Martin said there was a risk Tasmania could lose control of the rapidly growing cruise ship industry.

“We certainly don’t want to go down a path where the perception of doing Tasmania by cruise becomes the norm, because it’s not how the industry is structured and not how the industry wants to grow,” Mr Martin said.  

“There’s a real risk we can lose control of a sector of the market that’s growing of its own accord, and is inconsistent with the rest of the destination.”  

Mr Martin said cruise ships represented 25 per cent of the state’s visitor numbers, but made up only 1 per cent of tourism spending.

Destination Southern Tasmania chief executive Melinda Anderson said cruise ship visitors gave a well-needed boost to regional areas like Burnie and Port Arthur.

She said they also brought additional visitors to Hobart when hotels were already full, spending almost $200 each on average.

“Whilst they might only be here a short time, they are actually spreading around the region, so we see the cruise sector as a way of introducing visitors to Tasmania and encouraging them to come back,” she said.  

Ms Anderson said cruise visitors brought $25 million to the state last year and there was a need to strategically plan for cruise ship growth.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *