MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The pandemic has changed cruising forever. Many things on board will be different, once the ships can sail. And when those ships are docked at PortMiami, they should eventually leave less pollution behind.
"Sometimes you can't even go in the backyard it's just full of smoke," said Tom Sullivan. "And it's filthy diesel smoke, not just power exhaust."
The Palm Island homeowner said for years he's had to deal with noxious air pollution from the cruise ships that idle in PortMiami.
Sullivan and his attorneys say the pollution emitted from even a single cruise ship is too much.
"The amount of pollution that comes out of one of those ships is equal to like 5,000 cars per day," he said. "And it's even worse than car exhaust because it's diesel," he said.
Sullivan said the problem has gotten worse with the pandemic as the cruise ships now sit in the port for 24 hours, pumping smoke into the air that can be seen for miles.
But on Wednesday, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava announced deal that would allow cruise ship companies to turn off their engines.
The deal allows for the ships to be powered with electricity from PortMiami through a process called shore power, which is already being used at ports around the world.
"It's really a win, win, a win for the economy, because it will be keeping our cruise ships kind of ahead of a curve," she said. "I went for environment and I went for the cruising industry as well because sits going to be even cleaner."
Levine Cava said she has been pushing for shore power for some time. and now that six of the main cruise companies and FPL have signed on the agreement, they can begin the process.
"We've got a special substation right on the port and its already with the capacity to power a couple of the terminals at a time," the mayor said. "We will be looking at the capacity, we'll be looking at it ship traffic and we'll be building out a plan to make sure that we can convert fully. In the meantime, it'll be a gradual buildup."
The mayor said they'll also be creating a task force to oversee it.
Still, homeowners like Sullivan aren't as optimistic.
"They've been looking it to it for years now and it useless. More yap, yap, yap," he said.
Sullivan said if he doesn't see a swift transition to shore power he is prepared to file a lawsuit.
CBS4's Bobeth Yates reached out to the six cruise lines. Four have not responded, while two declined to comment.
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