Marseille Puts American Ship Captain on Trial Over Pollution

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On October 8, the American Captain of a giant cruise ship is all set to go on a trial in Marseille on pollution charges.

What happened?

The American captain of a giant cruise ship ‘The Azura’ is expected to face a trial in Marseille for pollution charges as the Mediterranean port city grapples with the rise in smog caused by its drive to increase boat tourism.

The American captain has been accused of using fuel with sulphur levels above European limits, as the Mediterranean port city grapples with the polluting effect of its drive to increase boat tourism. The authorities allege that the cruise shipping is responsible for 10 to 20 percent of the damaging particulate matter in Marseille’s air, which can cause respiratory problems and lung disease.

Accused of causing pollution

The giant cargo ship ‘The Azura’ capable of carrying more than 3,000 passengers, is one of the largest in the fleet operated by P&O Cruises, whose parent company Carnival is also being charged.

The prosecutors in Marseille say it is the first time pollution charges have been lodged against a ship’s captain on France’s Mediterranean coast. The city has been wrestling with increased smog activity in recent years, as it seeks to attract more lucrative cruise tourism.

A spot check conducted onboard the Azura in March found it was burning bunker fuel containing 1.68 percent sulphur, above the 1.5 percent limit. High-sulphur fuel, which is cheaper than cleaner versions, produces sulphur oxides which contribute to acid rain and the acidification of oceans.

Captain fined

The 58-year-old captain, whose name has not been disclosed, faces up to one year in prison and a 200,000 euro ($230,000) fine. He was tracked down by investigators a few days after the testing during a stop east of Marseille, he admitted using the fuel.

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Source: The Local France

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