NORFOLK -- Carnival Cruise Lines announced Thursday it would not operate out of Norfolk for 2014.
The formal announcement comes after speculation earlier in the week that the cruise line would make the currently part-time deployment of the Carnival Glory to Miami into a full-time arrnagement at that port.
A spokesman for the cruise line cited new environmental regulations on emissions requiring the line to purchase a more expensive, environmentally friendly fuel as a factor behind the decision.
"The 2015 North America Emission Control Area (ECA) requirements would significantly impact our fuel costs for operating cruises from Norfolk and many other ports around North America," said Spokesman Vance Gulliksen.
The North American and Caribbean ECA standards were created in an attempt to reduce harmful air pollutants from ocean-going vessels, primarily from very large marine engines, according to a document released by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
ECAs are designated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), according the DEP.
The new regulations will require Carnival and other cruiselines to use a different, more costly fuel.
Guilliksen said the company pulled the Carnival Glory from Norfolk as part of a re-shuffling strategy while the company evaluates cost-saving measures to handle increasing fuel prices.
Some of the concerns involving marine air pollution include:
- Harm to public health and welfare, and contribute to visibility impairment and other detrimental environmental impacts across the United States.
- Large marine engines also emit air toxins that are associated with adverse health effects.
By following these new emissions guidelines, the DEP and IMO hope to see significant benefits in American Health, Welfare and Environmental 2030.
By 2030, the government agency says emission reductions associated with the ECA will annually prevent:
- Between 12,000 and 31,000 premature deaths.
- About 1,400,000 work days lost.
- About 9,600,000 minor restricted activity days.
- Estimated 2030 benefits are between $110 and $270 billion,
while estimated costs are much lower at $3 billion.
Government estimates of ecosystem benefits by 2030:
- Improve the health of many sensitive ecosystems.
- Improve visibility.
- Reduce ozone damage to many ecosystems throughout the U.S.
Carnival's Gulliksen said the company hopes to return to Norfolk in the future.
"Our cruise program from Norfolk is very successful," Gulliksen said. " We have a great partnership with the Port of Norfolk."
A search on Carnival's website Thursday afternoon showed four more cruises will operate out of Norfolk in October.