Environmentalists Protest Seattle's Cruise Terminal 46 Project

Credit: Stand.Earth
Credit: Stand.Earth

Published Nov 7, 2019 6:21 PM by The Maritime Executive

Environmental activists with Stand.earth and 350 Seattle protested the Port of Seattle’s Cruise Terminal 46 expansion proposal outside the Cruise Connections industry event on Wednesday, November 6, in Seattle.

The protesters objected to the Port considering doing business with companies like Carnival Corporation, noting the criminal record of the company which is currently on probation for convictions including illegally dumping oily waste. A Holland America cruise ship that sails from Seattle to Alaska was also found to have discharged gray water into Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park.

Outside the event, the activists donned dolphin and polar bear costumes and held signs and large banners that read “Carnival’s Crimes: Bad for Business” while chanting “Dirty ships have got to go” to express their concern over how they believe the cruise terminal expansion proposal would impact local air quality, water quality and contribute to global climate change.  

The Port is currently engaged in a process to select a developer for the proposed new Terminal 46 Cruise Terminal. They are reviewing bids from three consortiums, one of which includes Carnival Corporation. The terminal is anticipated to be completed in time for the 2022 cruise season and is expected to cost around $200 million. 

In October, 350 Seattle submitted a letter to the Port of Seattle asking for a supplemental RFP process that considers Carnival Corporation’s criminal record for its environmental crimes. The letter also requests a comprehensive Life Cycle Assessment to better understand the pollution impacts from the expansion. 350 Seattle is also asking the port to consider a broad range of environmental impacts during the scoping process for the cruise terminal expansion, which runs through November 13. 

“The Port of Seattle’s initial RFP failed to require that critical information is disclosed to the public about the corporate entities involved in this proposed cruise terminal expansion,” said Stacy Oaks, Organizer with 350 Seattle. “The public has a right to make an informed decision about a project that puts the health of their communities and the climate at risk, including cruise companies’ criminal records and the potential pollution residents may be exposed to. The RFP must encompass comprehensive, independent tests to ensure Seattle residents are safe from the toxic air pollution these cruise ships emit, and complete transparency regarding the types and amounts of fuel, emissions and discharges these ships will produce.” 

Seattle residents join other port communities around the world fighting cruise terminal expansions, including a London proposal withdrawn in 2018 due to community opposition; a Charleston, South Carolina expansion that now faces a challenge in the State Supreme Court; a move by Italy’s transport minister to ban big cruise ships from docking in Venice’s historic center; and other cities including Dublin, Santorini, Barcelona, and Cannes that have limited cruise ship visits.