The Canadian government on Friday (June 23) announced mandatory environmental measures for cruise ships effective immediately.
“Even though cruise ships are important to our domestic tourism sector, representing more than $4 billion annual input into the Canadian economy and directly and indirectly generating approximately 30,000 middle-class jobs per year, we need to ensure they are doing so in a more sustainable manner moving forward,” reads a statement from Transport Canada.
The measures aim to address discharges of greywater (the drainage from sinks, laundry machines, bathtubs and showers, or dishwaters) and sewage (wastewater from bathroom and toilets).
The new rules include:
- Prohibiting the discharge of greywater and treated sewage within three nautical miles from shore where geographically possible across Canada;
- Strengthening the treatment of greywater together with sewage before it is discharged between three and twelve nautical miles from shore south of 60°N using an approved treatment device in non-Arctic waters. This adds to existing regulations for Arctic waters under the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act;
- Reporting compliance with these measures in Canadian waters upon request.
Fines for non-compliance
The Government of Canada originally announced these measures last year for the cruise ship industry on a voluntary basis, but going forward, cruise ships will be subject to fines for non-compliance – up to the maximum permitted ($250,000) under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001.
The new regulations add to work that is currently underway to conserve 25 per cent of Canada's oceans by 2025 and 30 per cent by 2030.
"Cruise ships are an important part of our economy and tourism sector, but they need to operate in a more sustainable manner to protect our waters and our environment,” said Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra in a statement.
“The measures introduced today are additional tools in our tool box to keep them accountable. We are committed to continuing to work with industry to implement these measures, keeping our coasts clean for Canadians to enjoy."