Australia's EPA is set to monitor air quality around the Port of Hobart in Tasmania. File Image / Pixabay
The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is set to monitor air quality around the Port of Hobart in Tasmania, Australia to determine if cruise ship emissions have reached harmful levels, local media reports.
"The point of the monitoring is to see if we can get a signal from the cruise ships being here and whether we can actually detect the level of sulfur dioxide emissions," said Wes Ford, Director of Tasmania's EPA.
"It will also give the community a level of confidence that those emissions are within the national standards."
As Ship & Bunker reported in 2015, the Hobart City Council Committee had been pushing for air quality monitoring to determine if docked cruise ships in the area presented a health hazard.
Today, the number of cruise ships visiting the port is said to have more than doubled over the past two years, with 138 ships slated to visit Hobart's Macquarie Wharf, Burnie, Port Arthur, and Wineglass Bay, beginning in November.
Wes Ford, Director, EPA Tasmania
We'll soon find out over this summer what the level of emissions are
Helen Burnet, Hobart City Council Greens Alderman, is calling on authorities to ban HFO use in the Port of Hobart.
"Sydney's ban was a result of political pressure, and it's high time we saw the same sort of standards for Hobart," said Burnet, adding: "we need to see a reduction in the emissions of cruise ship fuels."
However, Ford is not so quick to agree with Burnet, and suggests that the emissions monitoring initiative will help to inform such decisions.
"I think the number of cruise ships that are coming to Hobart are significantly lower than Sydney, but we'll soon find out over this summer what the level of emissions are," said Ford.
Previously, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has urged Australia to hold off on instituting more stringent sulfur limits without waiting for results from a "science-based study."