Cruise ships warned not to sound their horns in Scotland

Cruise ship crew have been asked not to sound their ships’ horns following noise complaints in Scottish port, Cromarty Firth.

Traditionally, ships have sounded the horn while leaving Cromarty Firth but a noise complaint could put a stop to the practice.

However, over 1,000 people have signed a petition backing the horn blasts, with one resident saying people look forward to them

Toria Anderson, who lives in Cromarty and started the petition, told the BBC: “Some have a musical horn and a funky tune. It is a signal to say ‘hello’ or ‘goodbye’.”

The port authority has plans to discuss the future of the horn tradition with local community leaders at the end of the month.

A spokesperson said: “If people feel strongly for or against the ships’ farewell horn blasts, we urge them to share their feedback with their local community council or directly with the port before June 29, so that can be taken into account.

“The ships continue to sound their horns as they leave Invergordon and, if the communities of Cromarty and Nigg feel strongly about them sounding their horns as they leave the firth, we will respect the wishes they express and advise the cruise ship operators accordingly.”

Invergordon has been a popular cruise destination since the 1970s with visitors travelling from all over the world.

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In 2022, the port broke its record with 109 vessels although passenger numbers were lower than before the pandemic.

Toria Anderson added: “There are those who see the horns as an unwanted noise, while others consider it a part of the local charm.”

Cruise ships generally aren’t prohibited from blowing their horns when they enter or depart a port.

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However, local communities can ban the practice if there are complaints from residents about noise pollution.

Cruise ship horns can vary with some sounding a musical tune while others sound more like a honk.

At sea, a ship might blast their horn to salute another ship, warn of a potential danger or in an emergency.

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