Signing of the “blue charter”: a joint commitment by cruise companies, the Port of Marseille Fos, Marseille Provence Cruise Club and the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Regional Council

Signing of the “blue charter”: a joint commitment by cruise companies, the Port of Marseille Fos, Marseille Provence Cruise Club and the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Regional Council  - Κεντρική Εικόνα

This 17th October, 2019, on the occasion of the Blue Maritime Summit Marseille Provence – Cruise Initiatives organized in Marseille by the Marseille Provence Cruise Club, the Costa Cruises, MSC Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited and Ponant companies, the Ministry of the Environment, Provence- Alpes-Côte d’Azur Regional Council and the Aix-Marseille-Provence Metropolitan Authority signed the “Blue Charter” for a significant reduction of air pollutants, initiated by the Cruise Club and the Port of Marseille Fos.

With the growing awareness at local level regarding air pollutant emissions linked to the shipping industry, cruise companies are undertaking jointly with the major institutions to preserve the quality of the air for Marseille’s inhabitants!
Thanks to the signing of the Blue Charter, a new, key step has been taken in the ”Zero-Smoke Port Calls” plan for Marseille, put in place by the Port of Marseille-Fos, Marseille Provence Cruise Club and Provence- Alpes-Côte d’Azur Regional Council.

The plan, to be applied at all three of the region’s commercial ports, will see almost €9M invested at Marseille by the Region and the Grand Port Maritime de Marseille with a view to providing shore-to-ship power for vessels at berth by 2024, a first in the Mediterranean. This unique and particularly ambitious initiative has the political backing of the City of Marseille and the Bouches-du-Rhône Departmental Council, as well as support from elected representatives on all political sides.

Four signatory companies central to the development of the cruise business in Marseille, namely Costa Cruises, MSC Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited and Ponant, are today making firm commitments. Their businesses represent almost 83% of the cruise port calls made at the Port of Marseille’s harbours and 95% of cruise passenger throughput, a figure that testifies to the stated willingness of all stakeholders to work towards a significant reduction of air pollutants.

In signing the Blue Charter, the shipping companies are committing to implement the following four actions, over and above any national or international regulations:

  • To adhere to and implement the project led by the Port of Marseille to provide shore-to-ship power for vessel at berth at the Marseille Provence Cruise Terminal (MPCT), with the prospect of being able to connect two ships at berth simultaneously by the 2024 season;

  • To undertake to manoeuvre, upon entering the port of Marseille Fos regulatory zone, using 0.1% Marine Gas Oil or equivalent fuels such as liquefied natural gas (LNG), or alternatively scrubber systems complying with local and international regulations;

  • To encourage the scheduling of port calls by LNG-powered ships at Marseille by contributing to the development of bunkering operations from the 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.

“This signing is a unique and major step forward for the environment, for the cruise industry in the Mediterranean, for Marseille and its inhabitants and for the Port. We have the firm intention of developing the cruise business in a responsible way, one that is acceptable to our port neighbours. We now have a commitment from all the stakeholders and the prospect of effectively connecting cruise ships to power points on our quays,” says Hervé Martel, Chairman of the Board of the Port of Marseille Fos.

“The implementing of the four actions set out in the Blue Charter jointly by the ship owners and the Port of Marseille Fos is unique in the port world and represents a tremendous step forward for the future. Separate from any national or international regulatory requirements, these actions stem from a determination on the operational level,” adds Jean-François Suhas, Chairman of the Marseille Provence Cruise Club.

“We are today witnessing a very important stage in the “Zero-Smoke Port Calls” plan, since it is the cruise companies themselves who are taking up our initiative and making the commitments that we were all waiting for. I and the other members of the majority have taken the matter in hand by putting €30M on the table to ensure shore-to-ship power sees the light of day. Today, we can see that this new deal is encouraging shipowners to follow our lead. It’s an extraordinary success and I would like to congratulate the Cruise Club and the Port of Marseille-Fos for this achievement. Now, we need to continue our efforts in order to see concrete results within the deadline we have set ourselves!” concludes Renaud Muselier, Chairman of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Regional Council and instigator of the Zero-Smoke Port Calls plan.

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