First full cruise season under new rules start

The Carnival Miracle arrived in Juneau early this morning.

The Carnival Miracle arrived in Juneau early this morning. (Photo by Heather Bryant/KTOO)

More than 1 million cruise ship passengers are expected to visit Alaska this year. But industry officials fear new fuel standards intended to limit pollution from large ships could begin driving vessels away.

This will be the first full cruise season in Alaska under rules that require cargo carriers and cruise ships to use a low-sulfur fuel within 200 miles of U.S. and Canadian shores.

The rules took effect Aug. 1 and affect much of the North American coast and Hawaii. But the state argues Alaska will be disproportionately affected, and has sued to prevent the rules from being enforced in waters off Alaska’s coast.

A federal judge has not yet ruled in the case. Meanwhile, the first ships of this season have begun arriving in Alaska.