Cruise Ships – One Million More Times Polluting Than Automobiles?

Earlier this year top Carnival Cruise Line executives were taken to task by a federal judge, accused of purposefully polluting the world’s seas and covering it up. The company had already been hit with a $40 million fine after pleading guilty to criminal charges stemming from the pollution, and was assessed another $20 million fine for violating probation. Though time will tell whether or not Carnival will clean up its act, the fact is that cruise ships may inherently be pollution factories.

This video, produced by Youtube channel Second Thought, exposes the polluting ways of the cruise industry. For comparison the video claims that the world’s car produce roughly 4.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year but automobiles pale in comparison to the emissions generated by cruise ships. The video claims that the average cruise ship can produce up to 1 million times more carbon dioxide in a day than an automobile. 

Cruise ships also consume, and discharge in the world’s oceans, so-called heavy fuel. This fuel is lower cost but far more toxic than traditional gasoline and diesel, the report says. Citizens of Southampton, England claim that fumes from this fuel blows into the city, causing an increase in respiratory problems among the city’s citizens. 

While ship emissions in port may be bad, emissions at sea are worse. The report says that when in the open ocean the ships dump sewage and the contaminants resulting from the heavy fuel. These pollutants not only harm marine life, but can evaporate into the atmosphere and rain down over forests and populated areas.