AN activism group launched a night-time protest against cruise ships in Weymouth Bay to "shine a light on the dirty truth of the cruise shipping industry."

Protestors from Extinction Rebellion's sister organisation, Ocean Rebellion, took to the water on Tuesday evening to raise awareness of their campaign to end the cruise ship industry and to demand answers from cruise ship bosses on the amount of pollution being caused by the huge boats.

The group projected slogans onto the hulls of the ships, including 'illegal dumper' and 'ship of fools'.

Protestor and Team GB sailor, Laura Baldwin, said: "Weymouth Bay has seen between five and 10 cruise ships parked here since the start of lockdown. On a still day you can clearly see the sludgy yellow layer of pollution wrapping the lowest level of air.

"We are in the midst of a climate and ecological emergency, people are already dying and being displaced. The next seven years are the most critical ever in the history of humanity. We must rapidly decarbonise."

Laura, who represented Team GB at the 2004 Olympics, said: "We all need to take responsibility for reducing our individual carbon footprints and make the morally right decisions."

The group targeted seven cruise ships: three are operated by Marella, which are owned by travel company TUI, two are owned by Cunard and two by P&O.

A spokesman for TUI UK said: "We can confirm that we’ve had no reports of our ships being targeted by this protest. However, as a CLIA member, Marella Cruises leads the maritime sector in environmental compliance by developing and implementing best practices which exceed international environmental legislation.

"Along with CLIA, we collaborate with environmental organisations and government agencies to create policies that protect our oceans and continually strive for improvement.

"As a cruise line, we work very hard to minimise our emissions and make our ships and itineraries as fuel efficient as possible. Our ships are equipped with advanced wastewater purification systems which result in cleaner wastewater than most coastal UK cities release into the sea, we have a zero untreated sewage discharge policy.

"Whilst at anchor in UK waters, our ships use the highest quality marine distillate fuel available (Marine Gas Oil) with a certified sulphur content of less than 0.1%, this fuel is not a waste product.

"In addition to all the measures in place, we have specially trained Environmental Officers working onboard who are responsible for ensuring 24 hour compliance."

A spokesman for P&O Cruises and Cunard said: "Whilst anchored off the south coast the ships remain on their own power generation operating at significantly reduced load compared to normal cruising or anchored operation.

"All non-essential services are shut down, and the ship is generating power for services required for the small number of crew remaining on board. This is at most 35% of the typical load.

"Additionally, all our ships are fitted with Advanced Air Quality Systems (Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems) which remove almost all the sulphur from the air emissions, along with removing a high percentage of particulate matter.

"These systems will be running whilst the ship is anchored. These systems exceed the regulatory emissions standards for both air and water quality and ensure that all our cruise ships remain in compliance with all relevant environmental regulations, including the IMO 2020 requirements."