Press Release: International coalition wants Carnival to stop using heavy fuel oil on cruise ships in Arctic

PRESS RELEASE:  As Carnival Corporation’s first ships of the season arrive in the Arctic, an international coalition of environmental groups has joined together to call on the cruise giant to stop using one of the world’s cheapest and dirtiest fossil fuels — heavy fuel oil — on ships traveling in fragile Arctic and sub-Arctic waters. The petition is at and will be delivered to Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald at the company’s headquarters.

This month marks the beginning of Arctic cruise season and the cruise ship MS Rotterdam has just arrived in the Arctic (operated by Holland America, a subsidiary of Carnival). With cruises in this fragile ecosystems scheduled to grow, they must change their fuel source in order to prevent destroying the very climate they are going to see.

“Not only does Carnival’s use of heavy fuel oil increase global climate change — the risk of an oil spill poses a major threat to Arctic wildlife and coastal communities. Worse still: HFO is virtually impossible to clean up, particularly in cold and remote Arctic waters. It’s time for Carnival to move past meaningless talk of its climate values and actually end its reliance on the world’s dirtiest fossil fuel.”  – Karen Mahon, Strategy Director,

“Carnival’s burning of heavy fuel oil in their cruise ships is destroying the environment their customers are paying to see. It’s time they take responsibility and switch to clean fuels.” – Lucy Gilliam, Shipping Officer, Transport & Environment

“Tourism provides the unique opportunity to experience the Arctic’s beauty firsthand. Cruise ship companies should not be using one of the dirtiest fuels on the planet which threatens the Arctic marine environment and the Indigenous Peoples that depend on it for their very way of life.” – Jim Gamble, Senior Arctic Program Officer, Pacific Environment

By powering its ships with HFO, Carnival is causing devastating effects to Arctic communities impacted by melting sea ice. When burned, HFO releases greenhouse gases and other dangerous pollutants like sulfur dioxide and soot (or black carbon). In the Arctic and sub-Arctic, this soot settles on sea ice, rapidly accelerating its melting. The sea ice loss is devastating for Arctic wildlife and is heavily impacting Arctic communities.

The coalition is calling on Carnival to:

  • Switch all ships in Carnival fleets to low-sulfur diesel fuel, and immediately end the use and carriage as fuel of all heavy fuel oil and heavy fuel oil blends in Canada, Alaska, and Arctic routes.
  • Reduce black carbon pollution on all ships in Carnival fleets by installing diesel particulate filters.
  • Take the lead in developing and implementing clean shipping technologies that help power cruise ships without fossil fuels completely.

The “Clean Up Carnival” campaign is led by Transport & Environment in Europe, and and Pacific Environment and Friends of the Earth in the US.

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