ECAN manifesto – European Cruise Activitst Network

Following the launch of the Ecan movement in Venice on September 10, 2022, a meeting of movements against cruises in the Mediterranean was held on April 15, 2023 in Barcelona. In this context, the participating organizations have decided to agree on a common framework against this tourism industry. The rise of cruise tourism in the Mediterranean coincides with the obvious demonstration of a triple crisis: climate, energetic and resources. These crises are intrinsically linked to an economic model which allows, legitimate and promotes mass tourism and digs inequalities. Participating organizations call for political actions that tend to remove cruise activity, to promote less polluting economic alternatives in the affected territories, to better environmental regulation in the maritime sector as well as to general awareness of the population.

Cruises are the most polluting means of transport per person and per kilometer, according to the International Council of Clean Transportation. The large number of people they carry and the leisure activities that take place there, focused on consumption, generate a huge amount of pollution, waste and residues. Atmospheric pollution, caused by extremely toxic fuels is a problem both for local residents and for the environment. It is a blatant contradiction: cities promise more or less effective measures to reduce pollution generated by road traffic, but authorize astronomical pollution levels generated by cruises. This is a new demonstration that environmental damage is neglected in favor of short -term private interests.

Beyond the effects on health and the environment, the negative impact of cruises also translates into the city in the form of mass tourism. The expulsion of the population due to the increase in prices and the lack of basic services at the place of residence, the stress effects on public space (concentration of tourist flows in the same places), the transformation of trade – Become tourism – and mobility problems are the most common and obvious signs. Also, the cruise model is based on unjust rules: economic benefits on the territories do not compensate for the costs that they must pay for damage to the health of workers and inhabitants. The play of complacency pavilions also allows shipowners to escape taxes and work regulations that take place in Europe.

Finally, in a context of shortage and energy rationing, it is urgent and priority to intervene in the climaticid and highly consumers of energy, in particular in the cruises sector, due to high social, environmental and health impacts and unacceptable that it generates. Especially since low carbon alternatives and more inclusive exist (train, bus, sailboats, etc.).

The climate crisis obliges us to changes that must take precedence over the search for profit. This is why we think that the Mediterranean must reject cruises and opt for another model. We believe that this transition must be done with workers in the sector

As a network of movements and collectives that undergo the effects of the cruise industry, we have decided to fight together. Consequently, signatory organizations agreed on the need to organize to obtain the following measures:

  • The drastic reduction in the activity of cruises in the Mediterranean and Europe, by planning their disappearance.
  • The launch of awareness-raising campaigns and explanation of the consequences of the cruise industry, both for the inhabitants of cities which suffer the consequences for customers and workers themselves.
  • The immediate ban on port extensions intended for the cruise sector.
  • The denunciation of false solutions such as LNG, scrubbers or the electrification of the quays, because none of these current and future technologies will prevent a ship from polluting.
  • The reconversion of the tourism sector in cities, in order to improve more sustainable modes of mobility and to strengthen the fairer economic sectors from a social and environmental point of view. We propose to work on these processes with workers and their unions.
  • Promote the entry into force before 2025 of the control areas of sulfur and nitrogen emissions (SOX and NOX) unscrossing in the Mediterranean.
  • The expansion and the maintenance of a common effort throughout the Mediterranean to make these requests a reality, taking into account the global North-South inequalities.

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