Ocean Rebellion just launched a night-time protest in Weymouth in order to reveal the “dirty truth of the cruise shipping industry”. The sister environmental activist organization of Extinction Rebellion says one cruise ship belches the equivalent of 1 million car exhaust fumes and 10 swimming pools of sewage per week when at sea.
According to a story in The Independent, Weymouth Bay is now the home port of numerous gigantic cruise ships docked on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. Moored like enormous floating shells, the vessels at anchor in the English Channel run with skeleton crews to ensure they don’t drift onto the rocks or out to sea while their corporate owners try to mitigate a business disaster.
The activists say the exhausts of these mighty vessels cause more than 400,000 premature deaths each year, on top of contributing to what many experts say is a climate emergency. A former British Olympic sailor, Laura Baldwin was quoted by The Independent saying:
“We are in the midst of a climate and ecological emergency, people are already dying and being displaced. The next seven years are the most critical ever in the history of humanity. We must rapidly decarbonize. We all need to take responsibility for reducing our individual carbon footprints and make the morally right decisions.”
Ocean Rebellion is now calling for new laws to address pollution at sea. The activists say governments should not allow these corporate cruise entities to reboot the cruise business as it was prior to COVID-19. The organizers say humanity cannot trust the cruise industry to govern itself.
The story by The Independent’s Harry Cockburn highlighted a recent Carnival Cruise Lines judgment for $20m (£15.5m) for violating a US probation agreement for misreporting. The environmental group also singled out seven ships: three operated by Marella Cruises, owned by travel company TUI; two are owned by P&O, and two owned by Cunard.
The cruise lines had their PR departments working overtime creating comments to counter with green technology advances put in place, and so forth. But Ocean Rebellion has accused these cruise lines of “greenwashing” their horrendous environmental impacts. Earlier this year, the shareholders at TUI, the world’s biggest tour operator, threatened to withdraw their investment “if climate and environmental protection are not observed.”
Meanwhile, the news from the New York Times tells of the Trump White House blocking a “no sail” order to extend through February from the head of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Here in Greece, the government has done everything but rolling over and fetching for Germany’s TUI. A recent COVID-19 “false alarm” aboard the company’s Mein Schiff 6 sailing in Greek waters was a close call for stockholders.
TUI Cruises got the green light to sail out of Heraklion, Crete, where an early lockdown had limited COVID-19 cases to less than 10. The corporate pressure on officials has become intense since tourism first took the COVID hit. TUI stocks are hovering just above the lowest point in the last 3 years at this point, as are other cruise and tourism shares.
In the spotlight alongside these recent Ocean Rebellion protests is new research that says that without dire action to reverse global climate change, entire ocean ecosystems could suddenly collapse this decade. Ocean Rebellion and many other environmental groups are upping their efforts to get governments to stand by professed sustainability efforts that have not, so far, had any measurable effect on the spiraling eco-disaster trend.