Greenpeace protesters raise concerns about emissions from cruise ships

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A row has broken out in Lochaber over cruise ships visiting the bay – and keeping engines turning over.

A statement issued by the town’s pro-active Greenpeace group says a solution has to be found if more large ships are to visit the town.

In a statement online, Fort William Greenpeace, said: “The MV Deutschland was in town this week, and its engines kept running all day.

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“Cruise ships keep their engines running whilst in port to maintain electrical supply to all the on-board services whether heating, heated swimming pools, casinos, anything that requires power.”

There are no laws against boats keeping engines running.

“Walking along the shore front yesterday you could really smell the pollution as the wind was blowing all to shore. Even though the boat seemed far away, its pollution footprint reached town, and it’s very bad for your lungs.

Cruise ship day in Lochaber again. The MV Deutschland in Loch Linnhe on a damp & misty morning, nearly at Fort William.

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“Cruise ships are an important part of the local economy, but they shouldn’t get a free pass to pollute.

“Maybe priority could be given to clean cruise lines that take air pollution seriously. That way we get the tourism boost without the unwanted baggage of pollution?”

Sarah Kennedy, a founding member of the busy Fort William Shoreline Company said: “This is always a bit of an emotive subject but however anyone travels to Fort William it will have an impact on the environment.

“Even yachts have engines on them so they can get about if there’s no wind.

“Some of the cruise ships that have visited recently have been hybrids – diesel and battery, Le Champlain and Le Boreal.

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“The industry is heavily regulated and controlled with marine law regarding the environment.

“The cruise ships coming to Fort William often have to keep an engine running so they can make sure she is stable in the loch and can manoeuvre quickly should the weather change.

“Obviously if 2,000 people came to Fort William by car then surely the impact on the environment and the A82 would be higher than by them coming by ship?

“We need to make more use of the Loch to reduce the traffic congestion on the A82 and if we can expand the facilities we currently provide with the small marina and ultimately an alongside berth with minimal impact on the environment then surely this would be even more beneficial to Fort William and Lochaber.”