An inquiry has recommended that shore power be installed at the White Bay Cruise Terminal in Australia's Sydney Harbour after local residents lodged complaints about air and noise pollution from berthed cruise ships, Australian media reports.
According to a report released by a parliamentary committee that was tasked with examining the overall performance of the Australian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), a number of local groups had complained that noxious fumes were making locals sick, along with being frustrated over vibrations and noise coming from the vessels.
In addition to acknowledging the problem, the report said that the issue "should have been avoided or mitigated at the planning stage by adopting the EPA's original recommended conditions of approval, including low sulphur fuel and ship to shore power," adding that the EPA could have taken a more proactive approach to mitigating environmental effects when the terminal was first built.
The terminal had originally been planned for Bangaroo, a nearby area in the Sydney harbour, though was ultimately moved to its present location in Balmain.
The move was a serious error, according to a representative of Carnival Australia, but a move to shore power in Balmain now would be "a prohibitively high-cost solution for ship owners, government and taxpayers."
The committee also said that requiring cruise ship terminals to hold an environmental protection licence would help establish clearer directives for the EPA's role in regulation.
Local authorities began searching for ways to curb cruise ship emissions in the area last summer, having said at the time that families were selling their homes and leaving the area due to the problems.