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Monterey City Council ends passenger services for cruise ships

MONTEREY, CALIF. (KION-TV)- UPDATE ON FEB. 8, 2023 AT 10:40 AM: On Monday night, the Monterey City Council voted 3-2 in favor of ending passenger services for cruise ships who want to dock in the Monterey Bay.

The vote came after city manager Hans Uslar was looking to end passenger services for cruise ships to protect the environment.

The city provides security and checking passengers in and out of Fisherman's Wharf. Security would now be left up to cruise ships.

City of Monterey does not have the authority to allow cruise ships in the bay. The U.S. Department of Commerce has the authority to allow cruise ships to dock in the bay.

City Council will Discuss Future of Passenger Services for Cruise Ships

“We still have a probability of an environmental hazardous situation caused by those ships.”

The City Manager of Monterey Hans Uslar is looking to end the services provided for cruise ships that dock close to the city. He says it’s all about the environment.

“It has everything to do with the probability that a ship has in its tanks,” Uslar said. “Millions of gallons of diesel, has black water tanks, gray water tanks that we can experience there and hazardous spill that will basically impact our pristine beaches as well as impact our wildlife here that lives in the bay.”

For businesses on Old Fisherman’s Wharf, tourism is a big part of their revenue. Looking out for the environment is a little confusing for business owners like Chris Shake. 

In 2018, 4.9 million gallons raw sewage was dumped into the Monterey bay and it was business as usual.

“And if you think back to when that happened, there was no business closure,” Shake said. “No one lost their jobs. There was no record of any marine life that was harmed. So that's what I am struggling to try to understand as a businessperson.”

The city says losing ship tourists won’t be too much of a loss for businesses like Shakes.

“The tourists coming and going from the ships leave hardly any dollars in town,” Uslar said. “It may be 20 to 21,000 people that are coming or 25,000 people coming here.”

But he says otherwise.

“As a businessman, I don't want to lose 20 to 30,000 guaranteed visitors that come to Monterey,” Shake said. “And the City of Monterey does support a couple of agencies like the Monterey Chamber of Commerce and the Visitors Convention Group where they actually give them money to market people to come to Monterey.”

Uslar will present this proposal to the City Council during their council meeting on Tuesday night.

KION also reached out to the Monterey Bay Aquarium as well to see if they had any comment. The aquarium deferred to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the city and the U.S. Coast Guard.

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Karl Cooke

Karl Cooke is a Multimedia Journalist for KION News Channel 46


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