Naturally, cruise ships, and all other sea-going vessels, produce a lot of harmful emissions. The heavy fuel and energy required to move these behemoths to exotic locations around the world is no easy task. The challenge becomes even harder when you factor in all the food waste and sewage produced.
Cruise lines are committed to reducing their impact on the environment, the seas, and the destinations their ships visit. So what are the ways cruise lines are helping to reduce pollution and improve the environment?
Several cruise ships are scheduled to be constructed which when launched will run on Liquified Natural Gas (LNG). Carnival Corporation, who own nine cruise lines, including AIDA, Carnival, Costa, and P&O Cruises, is leading the way in this field. AIDAprima and AIDAperla both already solely use LNG fuel when berthed in ports, improving the air quality in the immediate area. LNG is odourless, colourless, non-toxic, and non-corrosive, though is a lot more expensive than conventional fuel. Hurtigruten are building a fleet of four eco-ships, which can effectively run off of stored battery power – beneficial for some of the remote and untouched destinations offered by Hurtigruten. In some ports, ships can use shore power to ‘plug in’ to the electricity grid, giving the chance for the engines to be shut down completely.
By 2020, cruise ships will be required to have scrubbers fitted to their funnels. Scrubbers clean the gases that pass through the smokestack, resulting in lower sulphur emissions – typically by up to 90%. All new ships are being built with scrubbers incorporated into the design, and older ships continue to be retrofitted with these beneficial systems.
Cruise ships treat wastewater onboard before discharging back into the sea. Though the law could be improved to tighter regulate the disposal of waste water, many modern cruise ships are fitted with state-of-the-art wastewater systems that treat water to a higher quality than the Alaska State Discharge Standards, currently one the most stringent in the world.
There is still plenty more cruise lines could do to reduce pollution. New systems take time to research, produce, install, and implement. Cruise ship emissions have reduced significantly over the last decade. The cruise industry is one of the cleanest forms of travel, and is leading the way compared to the rest of the shipping industry.