Arctic Indigenous Leaders Tell Carnival Corporation: Stop Polluting the Arctic
24 October 2018, Southampton, UK – This morning, a delegation of Arctic Indigenous leaders and marine and environmental experts delivered a petition signed by 104,000 concerned people from countries across Europe and North America, to cruise giant Carnival Corporation at its UK headquarters in Southampton, demanding that it cease burning dirty heavy fuel oil in the Arctic and Subarctic.
At the International Maritime Organization headquarters in London, a gathering of the Marine Environment Protection Committee, MEPC73, will this week consider steps towards banning the use and carriage of heavy fuel oil in Arctic Waters.
George Edwardson, President of the Iñupiat community of the Arctic Slope, one of the Indigenous leaders who traveled to Southampton to deliver his message to Carnival executives, said of the company’s continued use of ultra-dirty heavy fuel oil: “I need to reach you. We have to save the ocean. My people and my food are important. There are over 13,000 of us in eight communities, with a 90,000-mile jurisdiction. I need everyone’s help to make sure it’s safe. Don’t save money using dirty oil. I need to stay alive.”
Carnival, the largest cruise line operator in the world with over 40% of the global market share and ten brands that operate worldwide, uses one of the dirtiest fossil fuels in the world to power the vast majority of its ships: heavy fuel oil. This is the thick, bottom-of-the-barrel waste sludge left over after other petroleum products are distilled from crude. High in toxic heavy metals and other contaminants, it’s so dirty that on land, it’s classified as hazardous waste. And because it’s a waste product, it is dirt cheap for companies like Carnival. When burned for ship fuel, it releases enormous amounts of soot, also called black carbon. When that soot deposits on the pristine Arctic ice, it accelerates the rate of ice melt. A spill of heavy fuel oil in the harsh and often inaccessible Arctic waters would be impossible to clean up and would be a long-term environmental disaster, as it persists in the environment for much longer periods of time, due to its thick, tar-like consistency.
Delbert Pungowiyi, President of the Native Village of Savoonga, Alaska, and member of the delegation to Carnival’s HQ stressed that the company ending its use of heavy fuel oil wasn’t just about his communities and other Arctic peoples, saying: “We’re at a critical time to protect what we have left. It’s not just about protecting our own [people’s] survival, it’s about the good of all.”
Burning heavy fuel oil also poses a risk to human health: The British Heart Foundation advises cruise ship passengers to not sit downwind of the funnel, and says that even short-term exposure of under two hours to such fumes may cause long-term heart health problems, as well as increasing the risks of heart attack and stroke in people with pre-existing conditions.
“Carnival claims that sustainability and human rights are core company values, but it cannot be an environmental leader while burning one of the dirtiest fossil fuels in the pristine Arctic. We are asking Carnival to step up to meet its own higher standards, respect the express will of Arctic peoples, and end its use of heavy fuel oil in this fragile and imperiled region,” said Kendra Ulrich, Senior Shipping Campaigner for Stand.earth. “Carnival can become an industry leader by making the move sooner than international regulations would require”.
Representatives from Clean Up Carnival Coalition member organizations — Stand.earth (North America); Transport & Environment (Europe); Friends of the Earth US; Pacific Environment (North America, Europe, Asia)– and Alaska Native and Arctic Indigenous communities participated in the delivery of the petition.
Senior Shipping Campaigner
Phone: +1 (360) 255-3555 – US-based, currently in the UK
+34 691826764 (Barcelona)
Photo will be available by 11:00am BST on Oct 24thhere:https://www.dropbox.com/sh/jvoktgcn5yrgxp0/AABa8boiJIDIe_H4VM-ZnKSDa?dl=0
Video will be available by midday:https://www.dropbox.com/sh/8rd7nw9sc2gn01p/AADb9ONf-eZAqwViJTKSyZuUa?dl=0
- Coalition website: cleanupcarnival.com
- Carnival campaign Q&A: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1CLRxu_J3JZ9xgXvmrcrgn3Oyx3xJCB2-Hzc1n58N1n0/edit?usp=sharing
- Would you forgo a glass of wine to protect the Arctic and our climate? https://www.transportenvironment.org/press/would-you-forgo-glass-wine-protect-arctic-and-our-climate
- Heavy Fuel Oil use by Cruise Ships in the IMO Polar Code Arctic, 2015 (published February, 2018): http://www.hfofreearctic.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Briefing-4-HFO-use-in-2015-by-cruise-ship.pdf
PRE APPROVED QUOTES
Delbert Pungowiyi, President of the Native Village of Savoonga, Alaska
“We’ve been witnessing this for many years now – loss of ice and weather patterns changing, at magnitudes that man has not known.
The scary thing about it is, this is only the beginning. It’s going to get worse, it’s going to get bigger, unless we combat climate change very aggressively now.
We’re at a critical time to protect what we have left. It’s not just about protecting our own [people’s] survival, it’s about the good of all.”
George Edwardson – President of the Inupiat community of the Arctic Slope
“I need to reach you. We have to save the ocean. My people and my food are important. There are over 13,000 of us in eight communities, with a 90,000 mile jurisdiction. I need everyone’s help to make sure it’s safe. Don’t save money using dirty oil. I need to stay alive.
I’m 71 years old. When I was a teenager I was playing at a place that’s now a mile out at sea.”
The sea has come inland another mile in my lifetime, and in my dad’s and my lifetimes, a mile and three quarters.
Carnival needs to listen to the will of people in the Arctic, and our Utqiaġvik declaration to end the use of heavy fuel oil in our ocean.”
Kendra Ulrich, Senior Shipping Campaigner, Stand.earth: Carnival claims that sustainability is a core company value, but it cannot be an environmental leader while burning one of the dirtiest fossil fuels in the pristine Arctic. We are asking Carnival to step up to its own higher standards, respect the express will of Arctic peoples, and end its use of heavy fuel oil in this fragile and imperiled region.”
Lucy Gilliam, Aviation and Shipping Officer, Transport and Environment: “It would cost the cruise companies less than 5% of the ticket price to use a cleaner type on their Arctic Cruises. This is a small price to pay for the benefits this would achieve for the communities living in the Arctic.”
Verner Wilson, Senior Oceans Campaigner, Friends of the Earth US: “Carnival owes it to the bountiful wildlife of the Arctic and its people to do the right thing and stop burning heavy fuel oil. As tourism increases in the Arctic, Carnival’s ships are destroying the very places its customers are paying to see.”