Arrivals & Departures Going green on ocean blue

Photo of Michael Ferrante

Cruise lines are tackling their environmental impact, writes MICHAEL FERRANTE

The shift towards cleaner and greener cruising continues to gather pace as operators roll out innovations to protect the marine environment and cut emissions.

Among the most recent is Norwegian Cruise Line, which has partnered with Just Goods, Inc. — a US-based, eco-conscious consumer goods company — to eliminate single-use plastic bottles across its fleet, by January 1, 2020.

In doing so, NCL will replace more than six million single-use plastic bottles every year starting with its newest ship, Norwegian Encore, which is scheduled to launch in November from Miami.

It’s the company’s next step in cutting waste after eliminating single-use plastic straws across its 16-ship fleet and private destinations last year.

Just Goods’ spring water comes in plant-based cartons made of recyclable material — the paper cartons are made from trees grown in responsibly managed forests, and the caps and shoulders are made mostly from sugarcane — and they’re reusable.

NCL president and chief executive Andy Stuart says the company will continue to innovate to protect the environments in which it operates.

“It is imperative that we take meaningful steps to preserve our oceans and the destinations we visit,” he says.

Hurtigruten will transform another three ships to hybrid-powered engines. They will operate year-round expeditions along the Norwegian coast from 2021.

Hurtigruten confirmed one of its expedition ships — MS Otto Sverdrup (formerly MS Finnmarken) — is to have battery packs installed in 2020 and they plan to refit two other ships in 2021. The battery packs are designed to support the engines to “drastically cut emissions”.

In addition, all three ships will have substantially upgraded low-emission engines fitted, and equipped to receive shore power.

Chief executive Daniel Skjeldam says: “At Hurtigruten, the push for sustainable solutions and introduction of green technology is the core of everything we do. We operate in some of the most spectacular areas of the world. This comes with a responsibility,” he says.

The MS Roald Amundsen, built with polar water capabilities, became the first-ever cruise ship to operate on battery power, in July, sailing on its maiden voyage along the Norwegian coast. The company aims to be running at least six of its ships using a combination of electric power from batteries, LNG and liquefied biogas (LBG) by 2021.

MSC has invested in lower-emission technology with its under-construction ship, MSC Seashore, and the soon-to-launch MSC Grandiosa.

The ships will be fitted with the selective catalytic reduction system, reducing nitrogen oxide by 90 per cent, and an advanced wastewater treatment system that purifies wastewater to “near tap water quality”, according to the company.

The ships will also be fitted with shore-to-ship power plug-in capabilities while berthed to further reduce emissions.

These new features are in addition to other environmental technology deployed across the MSC fleet to minimise their environmental impact, including the hybrid exhaust gas cleaning system (EGCS) that removes up to 98 per cent of the sulphur dioxide from a ship’s exhaust and greatly reduces particulate matter.

All MSC ships will be fitted with the EGC system by the end of 2021.


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