The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is calling for there to be rigour in the analysis of the cruise industry rather than reports designed to attract attention which have ideological aims and nothing to do with reality. The association notes, for example, that neither of two studies into pollution in Palma - one by the University of the Balearic Islands, the other by the Balearic government - identify cruise ships as the main cause of pollution.
Alfredo Serrano, the CLIA director in Spain, says the association has always been open to debating improvements and that these are being made. But he asks that this debate is rigorous and serious.
The cruise industry, he stresses, is committed to the environment, and it rejects broad-brush debate that wishes to misinform for ideological purposes. Drawing attention to a report released last week by environmentalists Terraferida, he says that a headlining comparison between fuel used by cruise ships and the the oil spill from the Prestige in 2002 had the sole objective of attention-grabbing. This was just one example.
Ships belonging companies that are part of the CLIA, Serrano notes, are obliged to implement environmental policies that are broader than those demand by current regulations. Cruise ships have some of the most advanced means of recycling and reuse in the world.
A report entitled Evaluation of Cruise Industry Global Environmental Practices and Performance produced by Energy and Environmental Research Associates indicates that CLIA cruise operators are leaders in terms of environmental policy innovation and effectiveness. This is due to the use of clean fuels, emissions controls and zero discharges of waste water that hasn't been treated.
The 280 cruise ships which come under the CLIA represent less than one per cent of the global fleet. In contrast to other ships, they are currently the most modern and ecological. Investment has been made in, for example, the use of liquefied natural gas, the elimination of nitrogen oxides, and electricity connections in port which mean that engines don't have to be running.
Serrano reiterates the findings of the study by the university, the Chamber of Commerce and the Balearic Ports Authority which pointed to a cruise industry contribution of 256 million euros for the Balearics economy and to some 6,000 jobs. "We are perplexed by those voices (which question the economic impact) and which base arguments on impressions or - once more - ideology."