Ten Charleston business organizations met on the pier of Waterfront Park in Charleston today, with a Carnival Cruise ship in the backdrop. The press conference was held to counter each claim made in a lawsuit against Carnival–accusing the cruise line of disrupting the city’s environment and historic assets.
Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce Chairman Bobby Pearce led the effort to stand firm in a stance to stay on board with Carnival.
We believe it’s a frivolous action. We do not believe this should have occurred. We believe it’s not much unlike the NLRB suing Boeing, we believe it’s that frivolous of an action. We believe it’s an action on the free enterprise system and we’re just astounded that they would’ve sued a patron of the Port of Charleston.
The suit was filed by the Historic Ansonborough Neighborhood Association, Charlestowne Neighborhood Association, Preservation Society of Charleston, South Carolina Coastal Conservation League and the Southern Environmental Law Center.
Pearce says the suit is not just an attack on Carnival, but the city and the state as a whole.
If the plaintiffs are successful in this lawsuit against Carnival, they will take the next step in trying to dismantle the Port of Charleston. Mark our words. That is why we are here to defend the Port of Charleston, to defend the State Ports Authority, and to defend the redevelopment of the Union Pier–which we think will be a beautiful addition to the waterfront here in Charleston and to the Lowcountry, much like the Waterfront Park is now.
In the lawsuit, citizens claim the cruise ships violate the height restrictions. To counter that claim, the Ports Authority says there are commercial ships that have docked at the Union Pier for decades that are even larger than these cruise ships.
Those in support say the cruises bring in an economic impact to the state, and anyone against that is against job creation and business development. However, opponents say the cruises are polluting the city, going against city ordinances and snarling traffic.
John Hassell with Charleston’s Maritime Association says Carnival has such a great impact on the community.
Today Carnival is a key contributor to a resurgence to the Port of Charleston. Providing hundreds of jobs with every ship call– harbor pilots, line handlers, stevedores, longshoremen, vessels agents, security officers, and others have worked for what others long for.
The citizens filed the suit in South Carolina Supreme Court on June 13. Charleston business leaders, along with the State Ports Authority, say they will fight to keep Carnival at the Port of Charleston.