NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – More than a million passengers flock to New York City to board cruises from Manhattan and Brooklyn to other locations around the world.

Ahead of a proposed expansion on the ports, one official is demanding cruise companies do more to reduce their emissions into the air people are breathing around the harbor, reports CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock.

The Norwegian Gem at port draws the masses to Pier 88 on the west side. The ship departs for the Caribbean on Monday afternoon.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” said Susan Sandham of Kendall Park, N.J. “Barbados is one of the stops and I’ve never been there.”

Sandham is one of many who cruise from New York City each year. Most disembark from Manhattan, but Brooklyn boasts another terminal in Red Hook. In 2019, 214 ships found safe harbor in the city before heading out to open waters.

“When they dock, they keep the engines running,” said New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer. “In fact, they keep engines running so much that an average cruise liner speeds (through) enough diesel, the equivalent of 34,000 tractor-trailers. That’s a lot of pollution in Red Hook and Hell’s Kitchen.

MORE: Residents: Idling Cruise Ships Choking Brooklyn.

Stringer says that’s why the city’s NYCruise Expansion, which includes plans to expand dock facilities and welcome more cruise ships, must also include ways to reduce emissions.

“I want the mayor’s office to understand we need to move forward with tech to reduce pollution,” said Stringer.

In a letter to James Patchett, the president and CEO of the NYC Economic Development, Stringer writes “…communities bordering the cruise ship piers have had to suffer the impact of their proximity to this source of pollution for too long.”

READ: Comptroller Scott Stringer’s Letter To James Patchett

He wants more done with technology.

“Rather than keep the engines idle, you would basically plug into a system that would essentially stop this pollution,” said Stringer.

In response, the EDC tells CBS2 that addressing the environmental impact of ships at the terminals is a priority.

A feasibility study should begin soon to explore expanding shore power connections.


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