Cruising Review

Publication Title | Advocates for Wild, Healthy Oceans

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Advocates for Wild, Healthy Oceans

As the cruise ship industry has grown, so has its impact on the ocean environment. Today, many ships are the size of small cities, yet they are not subject to the same wastewater regulations. Current cruise ship regulations are left over from the days when ships carried only a fraction of their current passengers.

Cruise Ships and Clean Oceans

The Clean Cruise Ship Act of 2004 would bring cruise ships’ waste treatment practices in line with 21st-century technology. Most important, the Act would help to preserve and protect the vibrant yet fragile ocean ecosystems which we all enjoy.

Fast Facts

Cruise ships docked at Charlotte Amalie Harbor, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. (photo courtesy NOAA)

> Cruise ships built in the 1970s typically accommodated 600 to 700 passengers. Today, the largest cruise ship carries more than 5,000 passengers and crew and has its own zip code.

> Since 1970, the number of people taking cruises has grown by more than 1,000 percent. Worldwide, 9.2 million passengers boarded cruise ships in 2002; over 80 percent of these were U.S. residents.1

> Each cruise ship passenger generates up to 10 gallons of sewage and 85 gallons of gray water daily. A typical cruise ship with 3,000 passengers and crew can produce 255,000 gallons of wastewater and up to 30,000 gallons of sewage every day.2

> Cruise ships are permitted to discharge raw sewage and some other types of waste into the ocean beyond three miles from shore.

© 2004 The Ocean Conservancy Printed using soy-based inks on recycled paper

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