Cruise Ship Agreement Funding Accord Reached

Friday, February 23, 2007
Cruise ship lines will cover Washington's costs to administer an environmental agreement that limits and tracks wastewater discharges from large cruise liners. The Department of Ecology (Ecology) and the Port of Seattle have signed a companion accord to the 2004 memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Ecology, the Port and the NorthWest CruiseShip Association (NWCA).

Ecology spent approximately $47,500 to inspect the wastewater treatment systems aboard the large ships, collect and test wastewater samples, review records, monitor compliance and prepare reports last year. The Port will reimburse Ecology for those costs, and collect that amount from NWCA-member ships - the large liners that sail between Seattle and Alaska from April to October each year - as part of their moorage fees.

The three parties plan to make a similar financial agreement each year. The MOU bans cruise ships from discharging waste water in Washington waters unless the ship uses advanced wastewater treatment technology required in Alaskan waters. Each ship must obtain approval from Ecology before discharging with an advanced system in Washington. Ships may discharge only while under way at least a mile from berth, unless they have enhancements - approved by Ecology - that exceed Alaskan requirements. The Port of Seattle expects 18 ships to make 189 port calls in Seattle this year.

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