Environmental credentials and image key for cruise ship operators

Environmental credentials and image key for cruise ship operators

Gone are the days when taking care of the environment was purely an altruistic venture. Sustainability, these days, has become intrinsically linked to profitability and business success, as cruise ship companies opt to go greener.

Text: Isabelle Kliger Photo: Carnival Corporation

The global cruise industry is one of the most recent to pledge its commitment to raising its environmental standards. Late last year, the world’s largest cruise industry trade association, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and its members vowed to cut carbon emissions by 40% by 2030. This made the cruise sector the first in the maritime industry to jointly commit to reducing its carbon footprint.

Aside from the CLIA’s initiative, most of its member cruise lines have their own programmes for reducing waste and protecting the oceans. Projects are underway to install a variety of innovative technologies on board vessels.
  

Setting new goal posts

One example of a cruise operator with a strong environmental profile is Wärtsilä’s customer Carnival Corporation. The world’s largest cruise company comprises nine different cruise brands and a fleet of 105 ships that visit more than 700 ports globally.

“Our reputation and success depend on having sustainable, transparent and environmentally conscious operations,” says Michele Verdoliva, Carnival Corporation’s Principal Manager - Marine Engineering. “We sustain this commitment by keeping our guests and crew members safe, protecting the environment, developing our workforce, strengthening our stakeholder relations, enhancing the port communities our ships visit and maintaining fiscal strength.”

In 2015, Carnival Corporation announced its 2020 sustainability goals focused on environmental, safety, labour and social performance. Having already reached its carbon reduction goal ahead of schedule, it is now defining its sustainability strategy beyond 2020 based on the United Nations’ 2030 sustainable development goals.
  

Enhancing waste management at sea

Wärtsilä is committed to helping its customers improve environmental performance through innovative, forward-thinking technologies. It offers a complete waste-management portfolio with a variety of options for treating each waste stream on board. From recyclables such as plastics, cardboard, tins and glass, as well as interfacing to treat effluent from food waste, Wärtsilä has the capability to deal with every kind of waste.

Going forward, one technology that will attract growing market interest is Wärtsilä’s cutting-edge waste-to-energy solution. Due to be formally launched in 2019, the technology allows waste to be burned to generate energy for gasification, thereby minimising excess waste and resulting in far cleaner emissions.

“Our equipment offers maximum efficiency, as well as an optimised process for collection, treatment, recycling, disposal and re-use, whilst taking up the least possible space on the vessel and producing minimal environmental impact,” says Piers Strong, Head of Sales for Advanced Waste at Wärtsilä Water and Waste, adding that “the ultimate dream is a ship capable of 100 per cent recycling.”
  

Wärtsilä’s waste-to-energy solution

One of the first customers to trial Wärtsilä’s new waste-to-energy solution is Carnival Corporation. The technology will initially be tested on one of Carnival’s existing vessels, with a view to rolling it out on its newbuilds, starting with those due for delivery in 2021.

“For the first time, our new ships under development will not be equipped with standard marine incinerators but with Wärtsilä’s compact, efficient and environmentally safe units that use new technology to convert waste into thermal energy,” explains Verdoliva.

“This technology will support Carnival Corporation’s multi-level approach to waste management by enabling us to convert waste streams directly into basic components, while, at the same time, capturing and using the energy generated for other shipboard applications. It also reinforces our commitment to recycling as much as possible, significantly reducing waste, cutting fuel consumption and, consequently, our overall carbon footprint,” he concludes.

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