One, two, three, four? How many ships per day should there be? | Jaume Morey

The pandemic stalled discussions about limits to the number of cruise ships and passengers in Palma. Talks resumed early this year, but they are only now being conducted in earnest. Politically, these talks mainly involve PSOE and Més. The latter, who have historical and present associations with the environmentalist left, hold the ministry of the environment in the government. At Palma town hall, Neus Truyol, councillor for the model of the city, will be the Més candidate for mayor at the 2023 election.

The two parties disagree over the numbers of ships and passengers per day. PSOE are proposing three to four ships with a maximum of 10,000 passengers. Més want one or two and no more than 6,000 passengers.

Neither the government nor the town hall has powers to establish limits. These are for the Balearic Ports Authority (APB) to determine, which ultimately means the Spanish government - the APB is the Balearics administrative division of the State Ports. But the wishes of the regional government and town hall will be a key factor in agreements to be reached with cruise operators.

PSOE and Més do agree on the Spanish government declaring the Bay of Palma and the Balearic Sea as an Emissions Control Zone. Truyol says that this is something the parties share with the platform against mega-cruise ships. "It would allow us to control air quality in the bay and to adopt measures to prevent problems that pollution causes for the environment and people's health."

Truyol says that if agreement can be reached, the aim would be for limits to come into force next summer. "It is urgent. In addition to being highly polluting, this type of tourism is one that generates less wealth". Her reference to wealth is directed more towards the mega-cruise ships than others.

With pollution in mind, various environmental measures are under consideration. For example, if ships do not have the necessary technology to reduce carbon dioxide emissions or to recycle the waste generated during a voyage, they could be banned from the bay.