Carnival Sunshine to depart from Charleston in 2016

Carnival Sunshine to depart from Charleston in 2016
(Source: Carnival Cruises)
(Source: Carnival Cruises)
(Source: Carnival Cruises)
(Source: Carnival Cruises)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A new cruise ship is set to depart from Charleston in the fall of next year. It's called the Carnival Sunshine. That joins another Carnival ship that calls the port of Charleston home, the Fantasy.

Some residents and environmentalists are concerned about pollution that comes from these ships. In 2011 Charleston residents and environmental groups sued Carnival saying the ships were a public nuisance, but that suit was shot down by the State Supreme Court in 2014.

The Carnival Sunshine can hold a little over 3,000 passengers and starting next year it will leave Charleston for a total of five trips. For some folks in Downtown Charleston, this isn't exciting news.

"On average, the typical cruise ship emits four times as much air pollution as the typical cargo ship does and that's all because what it has to power on board the ship. It's basically a small city.," said Katie Zimmerman with the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League.

Environmentalists like Zimmerman are not against the cruise ship industry in Charleston

"Obviously they play a part in our overall tourism plan," said Zimmerman. 

Zimmerman says the cruise ships idle for hours in port while people load and unload the ship. 

"What we would like to see is have the ship plug in to what we call shore side power. So basically the ship plugs into our electric grid," said Zimmerman. 

Environmentalists believe that could help air pollution concerns in the Charleston area. Meanwhile, some residents living close to the port are tired of cleaning soot of of their home.

"We don't ever open our windows or doors because it all comes inside. The black soot, it's just a daily chore to keep it clean," said Denise Barry, a resident in Charleston. 

"We want to make sure we got the cleanest possible modes of tourism," said Zimmerman. 

The South Carolina Ports Authority says they are committed to installing an air monitor at Union Pier to collect scientific data to detect air pollution. No word yet on when it will be installed.

The Ports Authority also says no more than 104 ships will leave Charleston in a year. They made that agreement with the city a few years ago. Last year 85 ships departed from Charleston.

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