Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Royal Caribbean Retrofitting 19 Ships

By Mark Edward Nero

Royal Caribbean Cruises says it will retrofit 19 of its cruise ships with exhaust gas scrubbers beginning early next year.

The systems, technically known as “advanced emissions purification systems,” or AEP, are expected to remove more than 97 percent of the sulfur dioxide emissions generated by the ships’ diesel engines, according to the cruise line.

Beginning in January 2015, installation will take place on 13 Royal Caribbean International ships and six Celebrity Cruises ships during scheduled drydockings and while ships are in service. While preliminary work has begun on several of the ships receiving AEP systems, most will take place between 2015 and 2017, according to the cruise line. Each installation is expected to take about eight months. Royal Caribbean says it is performing the work in order to stay in front of any forthcoming international emissions standards and also to be in compliance with existing standards.

The decision to install purification systems instead of switching to a fuel with a lower sulfur content will ensure that Royal Caribbean’s ships can be compliant everywhere they sail, according to the company.

Royal Caribbean Cruises has been involved in development, testing and planning for the use of advanced purification systems technology since 2010. Two newly built ships that entered into service in 2014, Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum of the Seas and TUI Cruises’ Mein Schiff 3, were among the first cruise ships to be built with AEP systems installed during initial construction. Royal Caribbean International’s Liberty of the Seas has been operating one of its six engines with a retrofitted AEP system for two years.

AEP systems ‘scrub’ exhaust gases by injecting high volumes of water spray into the exhaust stream, removing more than 97 percent of sulfur dioxide emissions.

“AEP technology for maritime vessels is very new, and we expect that by utilizing multiple technological solutions to accommodate the differences among our ships, additional development will ultimately help industrialize AEP technology even more,” Royal Caribbean Cruises President and COO Adam Goldstein said in a statement.