New fuel rules could hurt cruise business

At least one cruise line has said it
would drop Canada from its itineraries if new regulations on emissions go into
effect.

Under current regulations, cruise
ships within 200 miles of the Canadian coast can use fuel that is 1.5 to 2.5
percent sulfur, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Saturday. The proposed
cuts, set in an agreement with the United States, would demand sharp cuts in
sulfur in the next five years with the first ones kicking in in 2012.

Canadian ports on both the Atlantic
and Pacific are visited by hundreds of cruises every year with Halifax, Nova
Scotia, scheduled for 130 this summer. Fred Olsen, a British cruise line, said
it is considering dropping Halifax as a port of call in 2012, saying the new
rules could cost it thousands of dollars a day for each ship in Canadian
waters.

Betty MacMillan, a spokeswoman for the
St. John Port Authority in New Brunswick, said the sulfur limit will be 1
percent by 2012 and 0.1 percent by 2015. She suggested Canada could consider
other changes to take the sting out of the regulations.

“Things like shore power, where
the cruise ships actually plug into power at each port of call or at some of
the port of calls, can be used as a credit,” she said.

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