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Cruise lines, port and tourism authorities commit to improving air quality in Marseille
Hervé Martel (Port of Marseille Fos) and Jean-François Suhas (president of the Club de la Croisière Marseille Provence) , both on the left, the four companies represented by Neil Palomba (Costa), Ukko Metsola (Royal Caribbean Ltd), Erminio Eschena (MSC), Jean-Emmanuel Sauvée (Ponant) and regional authorities. Photo: Gpmm

Cruise lines, port and tourism authorities commit to improving air quality in Marseille

Four cruise lines representing almost 83% of calls in Marseille and 95% of cruise visitors to the city signed a joint commitment along with port, tourism and city authorities to significantly reduce ship emissions in the area.

The Blue Charter was signed by Costa Cruises, MSC Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd and Ponant and the Port of Marseille Fos, Marseille Provence Cruise Club (MPCC) and Provence Alpes-Côte d’Azur Regional Council at a Summit held in the French port city attended by over 250 cruise and maritime stakeholders.

Collaborative agreement

Signatories of the Blue Charter agree to implement the following actions, over and above any national or international regulations in order to protect the air quality for Marseille inhabitants:

To use shore power at berth which will be ready for two cruise ships at the same time by start of the 2024 season

To burn 0.1% marine gas oil or equivalent fuels such as LNG or alternatively use scrubbers when entering the port

To encourage the provision of LNG bunkering from the port’s LNG terminals at Fos Tonkin and Fos Cavaou

To observe a maximum speed of 10 knots within the pilot zone on approaching and leaving the port.

The Blue Charter was also signed by the Ministry of Ecology and Sustainable Development, the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Regional Council and the Aix-Marseille-Provence Metropolitan Authority.

Looking to the future

Jean-François Suhas, chairman of the Marseille Provence Cruise Club called the Blue Charter as ‘unique in the port world’ and ‘a tremendous step forward for the future.’

For Hervé Martel, chairman of the board of the Port of Marseille Fos, ‘it is a major breakthrough for the environment, for the cruise industry in the Med, for Marseille and its inhabitants and for the port.’

He added, ‘We intend to develop the cruise business in a responsible and virtuous way, one that is acceptable to our port neighbours and which takes economic impact into account but does not mean limiting the number of calls.’

Marseille remains on target to welcome 2m cruise passengers by 2020. Cruise activity generates €310m of economic benefits annually, according to the Marseille Provence Chamber of Commerce.

Utility partnership

A partnership has been established between Enedis (managing electricity networks in France) and the Port of Marseille Fos to provide shore power connections to all passenger berths by 2025: to the ferry berths and ship repair yards by 2022 and cruise berths between 2022 and 2025. The investment tallies €20m.

Three Meridionale ferries have been using shore power at berth in Marseille since 2017 and Corsica Lines has been testing the connection with a view to its regular use by the end of 2019, plus another two from 2020.

In 2019, out of 76 ships calling in Marseille, 33 are equipped with scrubbers or use LNG.