Letter to Editor: Yes on Article 5

To the Editor:

Please take out your devices and check out the latest Google Maps satellite view of Bar Harbor. Anchored in the harbor is the Royal Caribbean’s mega ship the Anthem of the Seas.

The “screw” is a term mariners use for the propeller. The “Royal screw” is what the land base uses when it describes the pollution being put out by this behemoth ship.

By the looks of it, the heavy breathing and the white discharge coming out of the bottom of this ship, one might mistake this as the Love Boat. Is this ship having its way with Frenchman Bay?

There are a lot of questions that need to be answered by an industry that gets bad marks in transparency from respected environmental groups like Friends of the Earth and the German group NABU that is the oldest environmental group in the world.

For one thing, what is that white cloudy stuff being discharged and dispersed by the stern thrusters out of the bottom of the ship? That cloud has concentrated right against the breakwater which is a heavily fished lobster hangout.

Another thing, why is any machine allowed so close to a pristine tourist town while putting out 40,000 semi trucks’ worth of Group 1 carcinogenic sulfur dioxide all day into the air, violating the Bar Harbor five minute idling code by almost 10 million times over?

We get a direct hit with this fumigating plume too often when the once cherished, ocean scented sea breeze cools off Bar Harbor on a hot day. The diesel can be smelled all across town. It happened three times in a two-week period in the fall of 2018. As asthmatics are particularly sensitive to tiny amounts of diesel, they should pay close attention to these cruise ships.

Even the little tenders that ferry passenger in and out emit a blue cloud of smoke right at the dock which sometimes then wafts right up Main Street. It might be wise to avoid Bar Harbor if you’re an asthmatic.

There is good reason why no business brochures, pamphlets or Chamber of Commerce books have pictures of cruise ships in them.

How much are we losing off our bottom line entertaining cruisers? I have two weekly rentals and on just one day, unprompted, both had serious enough complaints that they said they would not come back to Bar Harbor and would not recommend Bar Harbor to anyone.

One couple complained of the mob and went and got a cruise ship schedule so they could avoid being in town and spent most of their time elsewhere on the island. The other couple couldn’t get the photo of Frenchman Bay they wanted from the top of Cadillac.

Many bad comments on Trip Advisor over the past 15 years have disseminated out through the internet to the world. This has hurt our reputation. We are getting the short end of the stick and are now suffering the loss of our valuable land-based customers. We are now branded a cruise ship port of call. We are not a village!

Independent economic studies have verified the fact that cruisers leave only on average $1.17 per passenger in net profits in Bar Harbor while a year-round, resident-owned vacation rental can net a hundred times that. It would only take the loss of two rental days over the course of one season at Bar Harbor’s estimated 1,000 vacation rentals to negate any net profits from the horde of 200,000 passengers.

The cruise ship industry and their gang should take their business model elsewhere. Preferably 200 miles downwind.

There is one way to take up arms against this sea of outrageous fortune. And that is to vote yes on Article 5, the citizens’ initiative in June that limits the ability to bring these smoking ships right next to shore.

If you’re a CAT lover, don’t worry. Voting yes has no effect on the ferry. It only limits cruise ships from berthing.

Jim O’Connell

Bar Harbor

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