• Barcelona protest cites negative impacts on environment, neighbourhoods
• Taller than Eiffel Tower, 2,500 staterooms, 7,000 passengers and 2,000 crew
About 200 demonstrators converged on Barcelona’s Port d’ Europa cruise terminal Sunday to protest the environmental and neighborhood degradation for city-centre residents they say is posed by the arrival of the world’s largest cruise ship, the 7,000-passenger Harmony of the Seas, which will make Barcelona its home port for cruises around the Mediterranean this summer.
The demonstration was convened by L’Assamblea de Barris per un Turisme Sostenible (Assembly of Neighbourhoods for Sustainable Tourism ), the Plataforma per la Qualitat de l’Aire (Platform for Air Quality), 350BCN and Ecologistas en Acción (Ecologists in Action) to protest the ship’s negative urban impact through the arrival and departure of thousands of passengers to downtown Barcelona each time it sails, as well as its use of 110,000 litres daily of the world’s most highly polluting fuel oil, so toxic it is only used on the high seas beyond the jurisdiction of government regulators.
In shuttling passengers around the Mediterranean, the massive Harmony of the Seas — which is taller than the Eiffel Tower and 362 meters long, with more than 2,500 staterooms, 20 dining venues, 23 swimming pools and a park with more than 10,000 plants and trees — uses an extremely inexpensive fuel oil containing alarmingly high levels of sulfur, which according to protest spokesperson María García, is 3,500 times more contaminating than regular diesel used by cars and trucks. While idling in port as it takes on or disgorges thousands of passengers not far from Barcelona’s densely populated inner-city neighborhoods, the mega-cruiser powers its engines and generators with a fuel that is still 100 times more contaminating than regular diesel allowed on land.
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