By Mark Edward Nero
The cruise industry is a leader in the development of innovative technologies, the reduction of air emissions and wastewater treatment practices, according to a new study released March 30 by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).
The study provides the first-ever wide-ranging analysis by independent maritime environmental experts of the cruise industry’s environmental practices and performance. It found that with both air emissions and wastewater treatment practices, CLIA 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 lead in the development of industry policies and best practices that increase positive environmental performance, and that although cruise ships represent less than one percent of the global commercial maritime fleet, the industry’s actions have substantially contributed to the maritime community’s initiatives in environmental stewardship.
The detailed study, which was commissioned by CLIA and prepared by Energy and Environmental Research Associates, LLC, (EERA) analyzed the practices and performance of the CLIA members’ global fleet of about 300 ocean-going cruise ships, as well as the industry’s investment in technological innovation aboard newly built ships in its growing fleet.
When comparing the level of emissions from all commercial shipping vessels at ports where cruise ships visit in the US 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 US and Europe, respectively.
Overall, EERA found that CLIA members meet or exceed international air emission requirements and are leaders in the maritime sector in adopting cleaner fuels, controlling air emissions and preparing vessels to connect to shore-based energy systems.
Technologies and best practices identified in the EERA report include:
• Systems to reduce air emissions from exhaust stacks, including, as one example, advanced exhaust gas cleaning systems to reduce sulfur oxide and particulate matter.
• The use of shore power where available, and noting that CLIA members’ use of advancements in alternative fuels and emissions abatement technologies could reduce the need for investment in additional shore power in the future.
• Fuel switching to lower sulfur fuel before entering an emission control area, if other methods of emissions abatement aren’t otherwise available on a cruise ship.
• Investment in the use of alternative fuels such as liquefied natural gas, with an increasing number of new build orders for LNG-fueled ships.
The full report can be read and downloaded at http://cruising.org/docs/default-source/research/environment-research-2017.pdf.