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Cruise Ship Pollution to be Measured

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Cruise Ship Pollution to be Measured

Norræna ferry in Seyðisfjörður

The Norræna ferry in Seyðisfjörður. Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

The Environment Agency of Iceland will begin measuring air pollution from cruise ships docking in Seyðisfjörður, East Iceland, RÚV reports. Some residents are worried that pollution from large ships can accumulate in the narrow, sheltered fjord, particularly in calm weather.

The ferry Norænna travels to Seyðisfjörður weekly from Denmark, making a stop in the Faroe Islands. During each winter visit, the ship docks in Seyðisfjörður for nearly 48 hours, using its generators to produce electricity and sending smoke curling from its chimney. Dozens of cruise ships dock in the town during the summer months, and their growing numbers have prompted residents’ requests to measure the resulting pollution.

“The residents have been worried about air pollution from the ships. At least some of them,” Seyðisfjörður mayor Vilhjálmur Jónsson told RÚV, adding that the town’s geographical location in a narrow, sheltered fjord, could cause air pollution to accumulate there. Vilhjálmur says the town brought their concerns to The Environment Agency one year ago, but it is only now that equipment fit for the task has become available.

The Norænna ferry is run by Smyril Line, a Faroese shipping company. The company installed pollution reduction equipment on the ship four years ago and renewed it around the beginning of this year. The town has also explored the idea of connecting cruise ships to the local power grid while they are docked in Seyðisfjörður. The process, however, is both expensive and complicated, due to the differences between ships’ electrical systems.

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