State to monitor cruise emissions

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Norway has become a popular cruise destination in recent years, but the vessels themselves can belch out high levels of emissions in the country’s fjords. Now the state is keen to measure those emissions, and take steps to reduce them.

Growing numbers of cruiseships in the fjords, like her in Aurland, can mean growing carbon emissions. Now the state intends to monitor cruise activity in three fjords. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no

Growing numbers of cruiseships in the fjords, like her in Aurland, can mean growing carbon emissions. Now the state intends to monitor cruise activity in three fjords. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no

Nynorsk Pressekontor reports that cruise ships sailing in three western fjords are being asked to report all their activity, so authorities can register emissions and what sort of “carbon footprint” they leave.

There have been complaints earlier that the large numbers of vessels cruising in and out of the Geirangerfjord, for example, often leave clouds of air pollution in their wake. Now it’s one of the three fjords, along with the Aurlandsfjord and the Nærøyfjord set to be monitored.

“We know a lot already about how the ships function, how much fuel they use and how much they emit,” Bjørn Pedersen, divisional director of the state maritime direktorate (Sjøfartsdirektoratet). “We don’t know as much about how they operate in the fjords.”

Norwegian reserarch firm Møreførsking published an analysis last year about the emissions in Geiranger. They suggest that carbon emissions from the cruise calls amount to around 14,000 tons in the course of a year, as much as all the emissions from the fast-ferry fleet that runs all year in Møre og Romsdal and a bit less that carbon emissions from bus traffic in Norway.

It’s been difficult to nail down emissions from cruiseships and the vessels sailing in the coastal Hurtigruten fleet along the coast, because they can have erratic sailing patterns at low speeds and long berthings. Other supply vessels and vehicles serving them also make up a major portion of the industry’s total emissions.

Møreforskning’s report estimated nonetheless that 84 percent of the carbon emissions in the Geiranger area come from the cruiseships and other vessels and vehicles serving them. One cruiseship lying in port and burning 30 tons of fuel in the course of a day, the report indiated, can pollute as much as thousands of cars.

The state climate and environmental ministry has commissioned the new monitoring of the cruise sector’s emissions. Pedersen claimed the cruiselines were being cooperative and “positive,” with Norwegian authorities to determine what kind of measures might be taken to reduce emissions.

The report comes just as motorists and the agricultural industry in Norway are expected to “have to pay more to pollute,” and dramatically reduce emissions, which have continued to rise in the past few decades. In Bergen, a major cruise port, motorists are not allowed to use their cars on certain days with high pollution, while in Oslo, city politicians are removing hundreds of parking places, charging ever-higher tolls to drive into town and otherwise urging motorists to leave their cars at home.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund