Marseille to impose tighter restrictions on cruise ships

The Local France
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Marseille to impose tighter restrictions on cruise ships
(Photo by Nicolas TUCAT / AFP)

As Mediterranean ports prepare to impose tight controls on cruise ships, France's second city is looking to go further to cut emissions.


Marseille has welcomed new Mediterranean-wide rules that will require cruise ships to cut sulphur oxide emissions by 80 percent - and signalled that it wants to go further to reduce pollution.

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has decided to designate the entire Mediterranean an Emission Control Area for sulphur oxides and particulate matter.

That means that from May 1st, 2025, ships operating in it will be required to comply with a limit for sulphur content in fuel oil that is a fifth of the legal limit outside this area, or 0.1 percent against permitted levels of 0.5 percent outside the Med, while permitted particulate matter levels will be cut by nearly 25 percent.


It is estimated this will lead to an annual reduction of 8.5 million tons of emissions into the atmosphere, and protect marine life.

Marseille’s mayor Benoît Payan described the IMO’s decision as, "a first victory", and said that the city “wants to go further” by developing an emission control area that also limits nitrogen oxides and fine particles.

In October, shipowners operating in the Mediterranean and the French government signed a charter to accelerate the sustainable development of cruise lines in Marseille. All members of the Cruise Lines International Association, which groups the main cruise lines, signed the charter.

There are three types of marine emission control areas in the world: Seca areas for sulphur oxides, Neca areas for nitrogen oxides, and ECA areas where all of these pollutants are regulated. The Mediterranean will become the fifth Seca zone in the world.

In September, Marseille launched a 'world first' zero-emissions ferry, for use on the Marseille-Corsia route.



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