More Measures to Limit Tourism to Antarctica Proposed by IMO

A Tourism Cruise Ship in Antarctica Photo

Photo: Scott Wilson.

The raise of tourism in Antarctica has been subject of discussion during the past years, and travel to the region was finally restricted by the Antarctic Treaty in April this year.

Now even though not all of the region's problems can be blamed to tourists, the danger of oil spills from cruise ships is something to be afraid of. After all, it has happened before. This is why a new proposal by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) aims to raise the bar even higher for people who want to visit this spot.

Keep reading for more.A report by Tierramerica informs that the Marine Environment Protection Committee from the International Maritime Organization has proposed to modify an international agreement from 1973. The goal is to forbid ships with high density fuel to travel in antarctic waters.

Approved in a first meeting last July, the final decision to adopt this measure will be taken in March 2010.

So what will this mean? Ships traveling to Antarctica will have to meet higher standards by 2011. They will have to carry only light fuel, which is more expensive and less polluting than heavy ones (as it evaporates faster).

The only ships that would be out of this norm would be those performing search and rescue or security tasks in the region.

In which way the tourist will see the difference if this is finally approved? Price: tickets to visit the place will be more expensive, of course.

Of course some companies have opposed to this measure and ask for more time to adapt their ships. Though the IMO has kept 2011 as term in the draft of the resolution.

Some environmental organizations have welcomed this measure saying it might help diminish the whale hunt in the area, as it could stop some ships that pass as scientific but that are really in the area to search for whales.

More on the subject:
Tierramerica (in Spanish)
More articles on Antarctica and Tourism:
Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier Melting Four Times Faster Than 10 Years Ago
Tourism in Antarctica Grows, Raises Concern over Conservation
Tourism to Antarctica to be Finally Restricted

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