Mega risk

To the Editor:

I am opposed to the construction of the Bar Harbor mega pier to accommodate mega cruise ships.

As such, I support the Bar Harbor citizen initiative, Article 13, which will be on the June 13, referendum ballot. It will provide, if passed, a mechanism for the citizens of Bar Harbor to limit the size of ships allowed to use whatever pier might be constructed.

I am in favor of Article 13 because of the terrible impact mega cruise ships would bring to the businesses and citizens of Bar Harbor, visitors to Acadia National Park and the greater Frenchman Bay community.

Modern mega cruise ships can hold up to 6,500 tourists. Two mega ships could disgorge up to 13,000 day-tripping tourists on Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park at one time. These day trippers typically eat breakfast and dinner on board, and so their time ashore is concentrated in the midday.

Bar Harbor and Acadia do not have the transportation and lunchtime meal capacity to service this multitude. Lines, noise and general high density congestion would ensue.

Congestion in Boston, New York City and elsewhere is exactly what overnight tourists to Bar Harbor and Acadia seek to escape. Overnight tourists have other New England alternatives to escape the city. So it is logical to expect the proposed mega pier to change dramatically the tourist profile here.

Studies show that overnight tourists spend about 10 times more per tourist-day than day-tripping cruise ship tourists. Does Bar Harbor prefer to have many more low quality, day-tripping, cruise ship tourists spending small money on lunch and novelties, or a smaller number of its traditional high quality, overnight tourists who stay at inns, eat three meals and enjoy the full sweep of Acadia diversions?

Mega cruise ships are like small, floating cities. They also have up to 2,000 crew. These ships consume a lot of electricity. The ships generate electricity by burning the dirtiest bunker fuel, creating a cloud of dirty air around them akin to the Peanuts character Pig-Pen.

A recent study shows that the air around a cruise ship is up to 60 times filthier than normal, with attendant health implications. The most prevalent summer winds around Bar Harbor are from the northeast and southeast. So the filthy mega cruise ship air will tend to blow into Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park.

Mega cruise ships also create mega light pollution, mega noise pollution, mega silt disruption and sadly, the inevitable mega effluent risk.

All this pollution will accrue most noxiously to those closest to the mega cruise ships – the community of Bar Harbor and visitors seeking to enjoy Acadia National Park.

Mark Massenlink


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