It would cost passengers the price of just one glass of wine a day if cruise ships would stop burning heavy fuel oil (HFO) in the Arctic, according to a new report.
Green transport group, Transport & Environment (T&E), analysed the impact on the cruise ship ’Rotterdam’ had the vessel switched to burning marine gas oil (MGO) during three summer trips to the Arctic this year.
Banning the use of HFO in the Arctic last summer would have increased ticket prices on Holland America Line’s cruise ship by on average 6%, based on 2018 fuel prices and assuming the additional fuel costs incurred were passed on to passengers.
This equates to an additional €7 a day on ticket prices.
Lucy Gilliam, T&E shipping officer, said: “Arctic cruise tourism is booming, increasing the risks of oil spills and creating more pollution. The costs per passenger of a switch to cleaner fuel are tiny. It’s more than worth it to reduce the risks to the unique environment that passengers are paying to see.”
T&E said the analysis showed the Arctic HFO ban can be implemented immediately with an insignificant impact on the cruise industry. Such trivial increases in ticket prices for this luxury business should be acceptable for cruise passengers who, in growing numbers – up by 20% in the Norwegian port of Svalbard in 2017 – are paying to see the pristine Arctic environment, the transport group claimed..
Gilliam concluded: “Cruise companies claim that an HFO ban would be a death sentence to their industry yet the figures show that the costs passed on to passengers are trivial. Cruises to the Arctic are, by any measure, a luxury yet tickets are VAT exempt.”
Currently the IMO is inviting submissions on how to assess the impact of the HFO ban on communities and operators in the Arctic. It will be discussed during the next Marine Environment Protection Committee meeting (MEPC 73) in London later this month.