Bad news for the booze cruise: New green fuel rules are set to send ferry fares soaring
Anti-pollution regulations could see an 80 per cent rise in costs and consign longer routes to history
Simon Calder is Travel Editor at Large for The Independent, writing a weekly column, various articles and features as well as filming a weekly video diary. Every Sunday afternoon, Simon presents the UK's only radio travel phone-in programme called The LBC Travel Show with Simon Calder (97.3 FM). He is a regular guest on national TV, often seen on BBC Breakfast, Daybreak, ITV News and Sky News. He is often interviewed on BBC Radio, particularly for BBC Radio 4’s You & Yours programme and BBC Five Live.
Tuesday 01 May 2012
Fares across the Channel and the North Sea will soar if rules on cleaner fuel are tightened as planned, ferry companies are warning. When internationally agreed measures take effect in 2015, some longer routes could be axed – forcing holidaymakers and hauliers to drive much further.
Robin Wilkins, the chairman of the Association of British Travel Organisers to France, said yesterday: "We will see fewer ferries, and much higher fares." Most ships burns low-grade fuel oil, which in its untreated form typically produces emissions containing 2 or 3 per cent sulphur dioxide – the compound held responsible for "acid rain".
The limit for ships in the English Channel, the North Sea and the Baltic is 1 per cent, which is currently achieved at modest extra cost. But under "Marpol Annexe VI", part of the convention on marine pollution, this level of sulphur emissions will be outlawed after 2014. The limit will be cut to just 0.1 per cent. Regulations for waters almost everywhere else in the world are more relaxed.
The tougher rules were agreed by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the UN agency based in London. A spokesman said: "The IMO's vision for the industry is to eliminate, or reduce to the barest minimum, all adverse environmental impacts from ships. Marpol Annexe VI exists because we want to prevent pollution."
The trade association for the marine fuel industry is the International Bunker Industry Association. Its acting chief executive, Trevor Harrison, said: "My perception is that the regulators and politicians are viewing this in the same way that they viewed the elimination of lead from fuel in cars and the introduction of catalytic converters.
"There was speculation that it could not be done right up until the last minute, when it was successfully achieved. They might be right and it may work out, but currently everything points to 'no, it won't'."
To meet the new limit, ships are likely to switch to diesel or low-emission fuels such as liquefied natural gas. "Clean" fuel currently costs about 50 per cent more than marine fuel oil. A surge in demand is expected drive the price higher – and could even cause shortages in diesel, with shipping lines competing with motorists for scarce fuel if the oil companies are unable to step up production.
DFDS Seaways, which sails from Dover to Calais and Dunkirk and across the North Sea, predicts fuel costs will rise by 80 per cent. The firm's passenger director, John Crummie, said: "The proposed changes will directly impact the whole supply chain and ultimately increase costs to the consumer for everything from holidays to the price of food in their supermarket".
Chris Laming, director of communications for Britain's biggest ferry operator, P&O, said "Prices for the ferry-goer will have to rise across the board. That will drive thousands of HGVs to take the long way round with the unintended consequence of causing greater CO2 emissions. Where's the sense in that?"
- 1 Stoke City investigate 'religious abuse' after 'pig's head is found in Kenwyne Jones' locker'
- 2 Gove’s lesson: spare the comma, spoil the child
- 3 Ukip captures Labour fortress in South Yorkshire by-election
- 4 You thought Ryanair's attendants had it bad? Wait 'til you hear about their pilots
- 5 Join Ryanair! See the world! But we'll only pay you for nine months a year
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.
£26400 - £36000 per annum: Randstad Education Maidstone: An Independant school...
£22k-£25k + comm + benefits: Blue Travel Solutions: LOOKING FOR A CAREER IN TH...
£26k-£29k + excellent comm: Blue Travel Solutions: We have a high-end luxury t...
£23000 - £27000 per annum + (£15K + Uncapped Commission & Benefits): Flight Ce...