JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaska indigenous leaders are asking a cruise industry giant to stop using heavy fuel oils believed to be harmful to health and the environment.
The leaders traveled to Carnival's corporate headquarters in London last week to deliver the petition, seeking to stop the use of the fuel as an inexpensive alternative, the Juneau Empire reported.
This fuel takes longer to break down in the marine environment, and its emissions produce more environmentally-harmful chemicals than other fuels, Bristol Bay petitioner Verner Wilson said.
"It's a very dangerous fuel. It's the thickest, dirtiest fuel," Wilson said.
The International Maritime Organization has banned heavy fuel oils in the Antarctic, and a similar ban has been proposed for the Arctic.
Heavy fuel oils produce more black carbon than alternatives, and they add more sulfur into the air, according to the International Council on Clean Transportation. Carnival ships carried 11 million tons of heavy fuel oil through the Arctic in 2015, according to a 2018 report by the council.
While sulfur emissions are controlled in the U.S., cruise lines are allowed to install scrubbers to clean sulfur from emissions.
Wilson said he would like to see Carnival take the lead by ending the fuel's use on cruises to Alaska or anywhere north.
In a statement through Carnival representative Roger Frizzell, the company said the petition is "well-intentioned but misguided."
Carnival is committed to and has invested in "sustainable technologies such as LNG, Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems and new shore power systems," the company said.
"We only have a limited number of sailings to this region, and we already treat the Arctic as a special protected zone where we will only sail our ships to the region with the use of generation Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems that purify the air and water," Carnival said. "These systems have proven to be a better environmental solution than Marine Gas Oil when it comes to protecting the environment, so it fits with our corporate-wide commitment to be an environmental leader."