A new study released by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) provides a wide-ranging analysis by independent maritime environmental experts of the cruise industry’s environmental practices and performance.
The analysis found that with both air emissions and wastewater treatment practices, CLIA cruise line members are leaders in the global commercial maritime sector in the development of innovative technologies to advance environmental stewardship. It also found that CLIA members are leaders in the development of industry policies and best practices that further positive environmental performance.
The U.S. and Europe are currently the largest cruise markets in the world. When comparing the level of emissions from all commercial shipping vessels at ports where cruise ships visit in the U.S. and Europe, the study found that the at-berth emissions of cruise ships account for only three percent and 1.2 percent of all emissions within those ports in the U.S. and Europe, respectively.
Overall, the report found that CLIA Cruise Line Members meet or exceed international air emission requirements.
Cruise ships represent less than one percent of the global commercial maritime fleet, and CLIA member fleets amount to nearly 300 vessels. The report was commissioned by CLIA and prepared by Energy and Environmental Research Associates.
Earlier this year, Carnival Corporation completed the installation and certification of exhaust gas cleaning systems on 60 ships across its brands. Representing a $400 million investment to date, the company is on track to deploy its systems on more than 85 vessels across its global fleet by 2020.
The systems will enable Carnival to meet international regulations that place a cap on the sulfur content of fuel oil of 0.1 percent.
Carnival’s scrubbers are currently installed on 17 Carnival Cruise Line vessels, 13 Holland America Line vessels, 10 Princess Cruises vessels, seven Costa Cruises vessels, five AIDA Cruises vessels, four P&O Cruises UK vessels, three Cunard vessels and one P&O Cruises Australia vessel.
First announced in 2013, the company broke new ground in engineering a proprietary technology to successfully function in the confined spaces of a cruise ship.
The sulfur reduction program is in line with the company's adoption of LNG. In 2015, AIDAsol from the company’s AIDA Cruises brand was the first cruise ship in the world to be supplied with power by an LNG barge and, last year, the newly delivered AIDAprima became the first cruise ship to routinely use LNG with a dual-fuel powered engine while in port.
By 2019, with the introduction of the first of seven fully LNG-powered vessels, Carnival Corporation will be the first cruise company in the world to use LNG to power cruise ships both while they are in port and on the open sea.
The CLIA report’s release comes after criticism from an environmental organization in Europe. Earlier this year, German environmental organization Naturschutzbund Deutschland (NABU) conducted undercover air tests on the passenger deck of a European cruise ship and claim they showed high loads of health damaging ultra-fine particles.
A journalist documented concentrations up to 200-fold above natural background levels. The measurements were carried out but a French TV team working for the TV show Thalassa which was broadcasted on January 20 on France 3.
The longest recording, almost 50 minutes, showed an average of 60,000 particles per cubic centimeter of air. As a comparison: a fresh sea breeze at that altitude should usually be at around 1,000 - 2,000 particles at maximum, says NABU.
NABU’s cruise ship ranking of 2016, released last year, stated it could not recommend any European cruise ships from an environmental and health point of view. Most recently, NABU has joined with an alliance of environmental organisations that have adopted a declaration to designate the Mediterranean Sea an Emission Control Area to limit air pollution from ships.
The CLIA report is available here.