Monday, July 27, 2009

Are cruise ships safe for the marine environment?

by Charles Roring


Cruise ships are beautifully designed to attract prospective passengers to go on voyages heading to a number of destinations such as the Caribbean islands, the Great Barrier Reef of Australia or to Alaska. In recent years, the passenger carrying capacity of cruise ships is getting higher. Ship designers or naval architects tend to construct ships that are bigger from year to year. The reason behind this is the economy of operation. Ships whose carrying capacity is high can lower the operational cost thus bringing more profits to the investors or the ship owners.



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Newly designed Carnival cruise ships can carry up to 5,000 people each. This number is the same as the population of a village or a small town. From the technical point of view, such ships will have at least 2,500 rooms to accommodate the passengers.


These passengers need food and water during the voyages to their destinations. After the food and the water is consumed or used, they will become waste. Such huge amount of waste needs to be processed and released from the ship. This waste is a problem for the marine environment.



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In addition, for the efficient operation of the cruise ships, the underwater hulls of the ships have to be kept clean from fouling. Usually, shipbuilders apply anti fouling paintings which are chemical substances that are dangerous for the environment. Although less toxic paintings have been introduced to the market of shipbuilding industry, they are still toxic which are harmful for the environment.


So, the challenge which we have to face and solve is making the cruise ships that are safe for the environment. Also read: The Speed of Ship and Propeller Pitch