Extinction Rebellion plans to protest arrival of first cruise ship in Victoria

Extinction Rebellion plans to protest arrival of first cruise ship in Victoria
There are more than 300 ships scheduled to make a stop in Victoria this year.

The first cruise ship since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic is set to arrive at Ogden Point on April 6, and Extinction Rebellion plans to protest at its arrival.

On a Facebook event page, the group says the plan is to arrive for the protest at 8:30 a.m., ahead of the scheduled 9 a.m. arrival of the cruise ship, and stay until around 10.

“Our goal is to set up an information picket, using banners to momentarily stop vehicles leaving the parking area at the Ogden Point facility so we can distribute flyers summarizing the climate and environmental damage caused by cruise ships to visitors and tourist operators to raise awareness of the climate and environmental damage caused by cruise ships, before allowing them to continue on their way,” the event page says.

Brian Cant, director of communications and engagement with the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority said the company works with members of the cruise ship industry to improve on the viability and sustainability of the cruise industry.

“The public is entitled to express their opinion on cruise and, while we take all concerns seriously, we must ensure that when we engage with people there is an understanding of respect and civil discourse,” the statement said. “We always encourage dialogue with us and continue to make ourselves available in person and virtually.”

READ MORE: Ottawa announces COVID-19 rules for return of cruise ships to Canadian ports

Cant also noted an Insights West poll conducted on behalf of the GVHA and Cruise Lines International Association that showed 79 per cent of respondents view the impact of the industry in Victoria as positive and 57 per cent of residents surveyed describe the economic benefit of the industry as significant.

The page says the protest aims to raise concerns about the environmental impact that cruise ships have including the type of fuel the ships have, discharging grey water into the ocean, and the amount of garbage produced on the ships.

Princess Cruise, which is the company that is set to be protested by the group, says it adheres to all U.S. and international environmental regulations regarding the discharge of grey water, which is from showers, sinks, dishwashers, and black water, which is from toilets.

“All Princess ships are equipped with treatment plants that are certified by the U.S. Coast Guard as approved marine sanitation devices. The treatment facilities onboard naturally break down and disinfect black water,” according to the company’s environmental responsibility page on its website. “After processing, the waste water is discharged into the sea at least 12 miles from shore, which exceeds the distance required by law.”

Additionally, Princess Cruise has implemented plans to reduce waste on board ships, including having waste management systems on board, minimizing the use of plastics, sorting recycling, dumping food waste into the ocean, and disposing of hazardous waste at approved reception facilities.

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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