A single cruise ship in Reykjavík harbour releases as much pollution as 10,000 cars, in part due to a lack of necessary equipment on the part of harbour authorities.
Vísir reports that 90 cruise ships, carrying over 100,000 passengers, have come to Iceland so far this year. The number of cruise ships is expected to increase to 100 next year.
When a cruise ship docks in harbour, it leaves its generators running continuously. In a single 24-hour period, one cruise ship burns enough oil to equal the pollution from 10,000 cars. There is a common solution at hand – but Icelandic harbour officials do not have it.
Many major harbours around the world have taken up connecting large power cables to the ships, so that they may be provided with electricity without having to burn oil and pollute the harbour area. Reykjavík has no such power apparatus, it is reported, due to its expense.
“We have similar equipment for trawlers and boats at the old harbour,” Port Director Gísli Gíslason told reporters. “The project of connecting these societies [to electricity], which these cruise ships are, is tremendously expensive.”
Gísli pointed out that many of these cruise ships have their own ways of being “greener” and polluting less. Beyond that, there do not appear to be any immediate solutions.
“It’s a relatively short amount of time that these cruise ships are docked,” Gísli said. “It takes such a gigantic on-board team to keep them running that a land line [for electricity] has not been feasible at this time.”