Smoking ships did not exceed legal threshold

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 July, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 22 July, 2000, 12:00am

I refer to the letter headlined, 'Cruise ship company should clean up its act', by Paul Christensen (South China Morning Post, June 13).

The Marine Department has been monitoring the problem of smoke emission from some Star Cruise ships moored at Ocean Terminal since May. Our patrol officers and surveyors boarded these ships several times between May 4 and June 2 to investigate and offer advice.

Plumes of smoke were observed at times when Star Cruise ships were manoeuvring to berth, but investigations found that the quantity of emission did not exceed the legal threshold. Despite this, we are pleased to note that the owners of these ships have undertaken, on their own initiative, to modify the ships' engines in a bid to keep down exhaust fumes.

We know of no filtering devices that can be fitted to funnels of ocean-going vessels to reduce emission in an effective manner, so engine adjustment remains the best way to deal with such problems.

The Marine Department will continue to monitor the situation closely. Should Mr Christensen, or indeed any member of the public, observe any further occurrence of black smoke from not only the Star Cruise ships but also any other ships, they can make a report to our harbour patrol section, telephone 2385 2791, or 2385 2792.

ALEX LI Principal Information Officer for Director of Marine