'Origin of great evils!' Mallorca to limit number of cruises at its ports due to emissions

Balearic authorities have confirmed that Mallorca’s curb on cruise ship arrivals will begin to kick in from next year. Some changes have already been made to rules associated with cruise ships stopping off at the island’s ports – for example, a reduction of 101 cruise ships has been introduced to comply with new regulations.

The agreement to limit cruise ships in Mallorca was decided on in May this year and is the first of its kind in Spain.

The total number of stopovers requested from the Balearic Port Authority for next year is 437, 101 fewer than this year, and 155 fewer than the pre-pandemic year.

President of the Employers’ Association of Maritime Activities Entrepreneurs, Beatriz Orejudo said: “The shipping companies are going to strictly comply with the signed agreement, hence no more than three cruises may coincide on the same day in the port of Palma.

“Palma is one of the most demanded by European cruise passengers, but, as agreed between CLIA and the regional executive, there will be no exception days in 2023, since the shipping companies have had enough time to adapt to the new regulation.”

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Following the pandemic, the number of cruise ship arrivals this year improved, but did not reach 2019 figures, which were lower still.

And Beatriz Orejudo added: “We have not reached the figures for 2019 and they will not be reached further due to the reduction in scales due to CLIA’s firm will to comply with the agreement.”

The new cruise ship rules will ensure environmental needs are met. Cruise companies are now asking the Balearic Port Authority to put in the necessary infrastructure so that ships can connect to land and thus avoid any type of emission.

The objective is to speed up the connection of ships to the general electricity grid once they are docked in the port, using clean energy and with a 100 percent renewable origin certification.

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When the agreement was signed in May, a spokesperson for the Balearic government said: “The government and the main shipping companies in the world that operate in the Balearic Islands have signed the document that includes all the aspects agreed upon last December in Hamburg, and that represents a historic collaboration with the sector to achieve an effective regulation in the arrival of cruise ships to the Balearic Islands.

“In this way, the islands are defined as the second destination in the Mediterranean – the first was Dubrovnik – to achieve a commitment of this type, which is already being effective this year, in which the port of Palma will manage to flatten the peaks of activity.”

Tourism chief Fernando Valdés added: “The Balearic Islands are once again a pioneer with an initiative that will surely inspire other destinations.

“These measures are the result of dialogue and collaboration between the two parties involved, who understand that better management of cruise passengers who disembark in Palma benefits the quality of the tourist experience and also the wellbeing of the resident.”

General director of the Cruise Lines International Association in Europe, Marie-Caroline Laurent, said one of the cruise industry’s priorities is its commitment to responsible tourism.

The cruise tourism contributes more than 500 million euros to the Balearic Islands annually and generates more than 4,000 jobs.

The document states that from this year, only a total of three cruise ships will arrive in Palma on the same day, and only one of them may have a capacity of more than 5,000 passengers.

The agreement will span the next five years, but as the berthing reservations in the port of Palma for 2022 were already mostly requested and granted, both the government and the shipping companies agreed on a series of exception days.

In 2023, there will no longer be exceptional days, so the maximum number of agreed cruises per day cannot be exceeded.

Additional reporting by Rita Sobot.

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