Cruise Ships in the Monterey Bay (Bad Idea)

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As the sunsets over Carmel Bay this Celebrity Cruise Ship leaves Monterey Bay and heads south past Point Lobos State Reserve . Did you know these ships burn raw crude oil? Photo: Chris Cleary

Stewardship in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary has many layers . We easily forget history and allow current day repeats of lessons already learned.

If you have not read

It will give a thorough understanding of the history of Monterey Bay and the environmental lessons . People from all over the world come to visit this unquie ocean nirvana and in some ways that is part of the problem . This is a fragile environment that creates a natural beacon that draws in marine life from all around the planet and people .

Earlier this year I noticed a floating building in the Monterey Bay that anchored for 3 days . I scratched my head , this is a National Marine Sanctuary ? How in the world would a massive cruise ship be allowed to motor into this area ?

I went to the Monterey Harbor Masters office and asked . The Harbor Master was gone , so I emailed my concerns and questions .

This is the email 6/26/2017 :

Hello Brian ,
Thanks for calling back after I dropped by the Harbor Master office last week.
I have been working collaboratively and on my own over the past 2.5 years regarding solutions that will promote why it is so important for people visiting the Monterey Peninsula to not litter (plastics being one of the primaries )
The harm to the marine life is collectively growing .
When the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary was established in 1992 its primary design was to block oil from being drilled in this section of the Pacific for good reason .
We have all seen the cruise ship industry being slowly allowed to stop at Monterey . When the primary stops have always been San Francisco and LA . Why they are allowed to come into this protected area is confusing (outside of $)
One oil leak * sewage leak in this zone would not be that much different from a catastrophhic oil spill (Santa Barbara 1969) on the damage . Fishing , Marine ecosystems , local businesses etc.
It has taken years for the Monterey Bay to recover back into a thriving marine life habitat . I clearly understand local economics on tourism , but this is simply a bad idea on what the trade off could create .
I am trying to understand who signs off on allowing this type of thing to happen :
The City of Monterey ?
The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary ?
Who specifically is profiting ? Not just an average dollar figure the cruise ships say is being spent locally from people disembarking the ships.
I am certain this has to be a transparent topic for the public to be made aware .
Anything you can do to help with information .
Brent Allen
Response :

Hello Brent, Thank you for the questions, here are a few thoughts to help guide your research. The City of Monterey is responsible for the Harbor and roughly out to 10 fathoms in depth except in one distinct area which is deeper. The City of Monterey enters into agreements with each of the cruise ship companies for their visits. Other agencies as well have jurisdiction of this area. The MBNMS is an important partner in oversight and use, however they cannot limit ship traffic if in compliance with USCG rules and regulations and the no discharge policy except power-plant cooling. Many ships transient the MBNMS further out into the designated area. You may have noticed one of the mandates is a spill response program required of the local communities and shipping traffic. There are marine protected areas, MPA’s and MLPA’s managed by the State of California. These relate to fishing along with Fish and Wildlife Management. Cruise ship attendance vary’s as well, 2016 (2), 2015 (6), 2014 (7), 2013 (3). These visits change each year depending on company ships movements from one area to another, this is the main reason for attendance changes and the yearly timing. The vessels are also boarded and inspected by the USCG and the Sanctuary Office of Law Enforcement while visiting.
The City of Monterey and our staff are committed to maintaining high water quality standards along with an ECO Friendly and low impact policy environmentally. We partner with the multiple agencies and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary on many projects and visions.
Thank again for your questions,
Warm regards, Brian Nelson
Marine Operations Specialists
The information available to the public on cruise ships coming to anchor in Monterey Bay can be found at the following link :
One spill will effect EVERYONE that has a business built around tourism , fishing , etc. for the Monterey Peninsula and coastal cities in the monterey bay . Is this worth rolling the dice ?
This doesn’t include the direct impact of having vessels of this size disrupt the marine mammals in this specific area .
Cruise ships that have anchored in Monterey , CA since 2013
2013 3 days
2014 7 days
2015 6 days
2016 2 days
2017 13 days
2018 scheduled to date 10 days
2019 scheduled to date 6 days
As the numbers go up , so do the odds something will happen . These are just few articles to help you decide for yourself .

Cruise ships

Awareness – Education – Action ,

Brent Allen Outside

Photographer: Chris Cleary

As the sunsets over Carmel Bay this Celebrity Cruise Ship leaves Monterey Bay and heads south past Point Lobos State Reserve . Did you know these ships burn raw crude oil ? Which way are the sea birds flying ? Away !
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About TF

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6 comments on “Cruise Ships in the Monterey Bay (Bad Idea)

  1. Hard to parse this answer but that may be the Harbor Master’s point. ‘We have a lot of agencies involved in different jurisdictions, cruise ships determine if they want to come or not, and the City of Monterey gives them a permit’. Nothing about whether they should be in the sanctuary. But I guess it all goes back to the city.

  2. Great info; thank you. We must protest to the city to deny the permits. What part of huge national marine sanctuary do they fail to understand? Who polices emissions and outflow from these vessels? The few bucks that hordes of passengers spend on meals and souvenirs at the Wharf do not justify this travesty.

  3. Cruise ships in out beautiful Monterey Bay Sanctuary is a VERY BAD IDEA!!! Keep the out of our bay!!!

  4. I grew up in Carmel and am a frequent visitor to the Monterey Peninsula. As someone who has done quite a bit of cruising, I have seen what the ships I have been on (Crystal, Regent, Silversea) do to protect against pollution, but these are smaller ships – a thousand or less passengers, nothing like the behemoths now being launched by other lines, and as shown above. I have also seen that a large number of passengers do not inject any significant cash into the economies of ports they visit, so that the presumed trade-off of risk for economic gain may be illusory. I do not think the Peninsula should be a port of call for ships of this type.

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