The Return of the Cruise Liners

The UN Climate Change Conference ,COP26, takes place 31st October – 12th November2021 in the host city Glasgow. Our planet is in a climate emergency.

The World Health Organization declared the Covid-19 outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January 2020, and a pandemic on 11 March 2020.

It is estimated that, so far, 4.2million people across the world have died due to Covid. Many, many more will have life changing long term health conditions because of the virus.

The Covid pandemic is not over, even with high levels of vaccination in this country, because access to the vaccine has not been equitable across the world, opportunities exist for the virus to mutate. The choices we have

The vaccine is really important but you are not immune from Covid if you are fully vaccinated. Booster jags will be needed.

Back to the climate emergency – and the pandemic is linked to that. “Let’s defend our future, let’s fight for it, let’s create it” #NobelPrizeSummit. It seems we have rushed back into the very conditions that created these global catastrophes.

On 30th of July, Orkney’s leaders welcomed the arrival of a massive cruise ship. Here’s the list of what might be coming the way of islanders: Cruise Ships 2021

And – Cruise ship visits 2021

So there are two issues for islanders to consider with the return of cruise ships: 1. the possibility of the transmission of Covid either into the islands or back onto a cruise ship from Orkney, and 2. the damage to the environment by cruise ships.

Of course, some people, businesses and organisations will make money out of the return of the cruise ships – not the wee shops across our islands that kept going throughout lockdown and were our lifeline – cruise ship passengers hustled around in ‘bubble’ groups will not be visiting those.

Tourism is important – and we have seen a welcome return to visitors who love to come here, who stay in our holiday accommodation and spend money in our cafes and shops. Those visitors stay for several days, many go to the outer isles, and they spend their money supporting the businesses that did so much to get us through those dreadful early days of the lockdown in 2020.

The driver in all of this is money – not consideration of the environment or the health and well being of the people – just money. Short term gain that will have very long term consequences.

Kirkwall Harbour and Marina

Reporter: Fiona Grahame

4 replies »

  1. Got Them Big Old, Bad Old, Liner’s Back Blues

    Woke up this mornin’
    Woke up this morniiiiiin’
    Looked out my window
    What did I see?
    One of them big old, bad old liner ships
    A’ starin’ back at me.

    Where’d it come from?
    I don’ know.
    Who’s on it?
    Don’ know that too.
    All I know is
    It gave me them big old, bad old liners are back bluuuuuuues.

    Bernie Bell 30th July 2021

  2. Without money there would be no NHS, no vaccine, no power, no modern technology, no pensions.
    Everything we take for granted in the world today exists because of the generation of money.
    Alternatively we could go back to living in Skara Brae!

    • Sometimes I think living like in the days of Skara Brae would not be the worst choice… do not underestimate how our ancestors lived, it was not all doom and gloom. They had herbal remedies, they certainly did not suffer from obesity and modern lifestyle related diseases, although they were not in a position to cure the things we can treat nowadays. But they knew fine how to prevent many of them, just think about the many taboos ancient cultures had.
      The NHS was had hit by austerity… even before the pandemic and for very different reasons. Obviously, a booming cruise industry did not fill the existing financial gaps although it was not constrained by a pandemic at the time.
      As it was pointed out in the article, many of the businesses who make their living by serving the resident population, do not (or at best marginally) benefit from the cruise ship visits. I was told by business owners in Kirkwall that they make in fact a loss on the days Kirkwall is invaded by tourists because this is when the locals stay away and avoid the town. One said to me: ‘They get full board on the ship so why should they go for a meal in town?’ Another said: ‘These visits just boost short-lived, not competitively paid seasonal jobs, not enough to sustain anyone over the whole year.’

      It would perhaps also be interesting to see where the majority of the revenue ends up. Some big cruise ship companies are not even registered for tax purposes in the UK. Well, anybody keen on a guess how much of the ‘money’ really ends up in the UK?

      Money seems to suffice as a justification for a lot of things. But it is worth looking behind such statements, sometimes that money isn’t really there.

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