“Wonder of the Seas”, the largest liner in the world, attracts criticism

The ship has been the subject of finishing in the port of L’Estaque since 9 November. While some seem to admire such a surplus, others believe it distorts the landscape and degrades air quality.

It seems to arouse admiration as much as mistrust. The “Wonder of the Seas”, the largest cruise ship in the world, arrived in Marseille on 9 November. It is at the port of l’Estaque that the completion of this colossus of seas, 362 meters long, 66 meters wide and with a capacity of 9,300 people, must be carried out before being put into service in the Caribbean. March.

“It’s a monster,” smiled a curious woman with binoculars in hand the day she arrived in Marseille. “So anything that’s exceptional attracts me. (…) Usually we look at cormorants. Today it’s a little more interesting than cormorants.”

And another Marseillaise in abundance: “I’m waiting for the Wonder of the Sea, last generation liner. It’s admiration of what humans can build”.

“I have the impression of smoking three packs of cigarettes”

But residents of the Estaque district, who daily cannot escape the sight of this liner as tall as a 20-story building, are starting to get tired of it. Some believe it distorts the landscape. Others assure that it is “magnificent”, “magical”, but that “for the lungs it does not work”.

“In the morning, instead of smelling the smell of the sea, you can smell fuel oil or kerosene, a resident apologizes. I have the impression of smoking three packs of cigarettes.”

These scents are associated with the liner’s engine, “still diesel”, according to Richard Hardouin, president of the France Nature Environnement in Bouches-du-Rhône.

An even greener liner?

Its fuel “is 100 times more polluting than diesel from cars”, assures the interested party. Especially since he risks using, I think, smoke cleaners. This makes it possible to use a less refined fuel, generally 0.5 or even 3.5 “.

The cruise line Royal Caribbean International denies having built a “greener” ship, which emits 30% less greenhouse gases than other lines, and which can be connected to the quayside to avoid running the engines.

“Ships are virtuous now in cruise ships,” admits Richard Hardouin. “However, the large port of Marseille is not because it does not offer capacity for ships to connect. The responsibility does not lie with cruise passengers, but with the large port of Marseille”.

According to the NGO Transport and Environment, the port of Marseille was the eighth most polluted in Europe in 2019. Especially due to the presence of cruise ships.

Marie Roux with Florian Bouhot

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