PRO­TECT­ING OUR OCEANS

The cruise in­dus­try is tak­ing a stand to pro­tect its most im­por­tant as­set

Signature Travel & Lifestyle - - Contents - Find out more about Peace Boat’s “world’s green­est cruise ship” with this video at sig­na­ture­lux­u­ry­travel.com.au/peace-boat

There’s no deny­ing the pop­u­lar­ity of cruis­ing, with over 300 ships car­ry­ing more than 26 mil­lion pas­sen­gers per year. The con­tin­ued suc­cess of cruis­ing, how­ever, is de­pen­dent on the health of the wa­ter­ways it utilises, and now more than ever it’s im­per­a­tive that the in­dus­try acts as stew­ards of the ocean, en­sur­ing its health and clean­li­ness.

“Without clean seas, clean coastal wa­ters and en­vi­ron­men­tally healthy des­ti­na­tions, peo­ple will not want to cruise,” Joel Katz, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of Cruise Lines In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion (CLIA) Aus­trala­sia, says. “Cruis­ing, like many other in­dus­tries, still has work to do. But we are tak­ing ag­gres­sive steps and mak­ing progress. We are com­mit­ted to en­sur­ing that our oceans are healthy and vi­brant.”

One of the most press­ing prob­lems fac­ing our planet is the pres­ence of plas­tics in the oceans. Ev­ery year, more than eight mil­lion met­ric tonnes of plas­tic en­ters the oceans – waste that lasts for­ever, swept around in cur­rents, and ends up be­ing con­sumed in the form of mi­croplas­tics by marine life.

In an ef­fort to com­bat this scourge, Nor­we­gian Cruise Line Hold­ings (NCLH), which op­er­ates the Nor­we­gian Cruise Line, Ocea­nia Cruises and Re­gent Seven Seas Cruises brands, has part­nered with Ocean Con­ser­vancy’s Trash Free Seas Al­liance to work to­wards find­ing a so­lu­tion to the plas­tic prob­lem.

“The suc­cess of our busi­ness is de­pen­dent on the health of our oceans and, to­gether with Ocean Con­ser­vancy, we are tak­ing a step for­ward in our com­mit­ment to pro­tect the world’s oceans,” Frank Del Rio, CEO of NCLH, said in a re­cent state­ment.

As a sym­bol of ‘Sail & Sus­tain’, NCLH’s global en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­gram, the hull of the new Nor­we­gian Bliss is adorned with a mu­ral of leap­ing hump­back whales and other Alaskan marine crea­tures, painted by lead­ing artist and staunch con­ser­va­tion­ist, Robert Wy­land.

A greener fu­ture

In 2016, Royal Caribbean Cruises em­barked on an­other im­por­tant en­vi­ron­men­tal part­ner­ship, join­ing World Wildlife Fund to raise aware­ness about con­ser­vancy. The com­pany also claims to be ush­er­ing in a new era of green tech­nol­ogy, rolling out ships pow­ered by al­ter­na­tive fu­els such as LNG and fuel-cell tech­nol­ogy, while on 8 June, the com­pany an­nounced that it will elim­i­nate plas­tic straws by the end of 2018.

Mean­while, Vik­ing Cruises is ex­plor­ing wind power, in­stalling a ro­tor sail sys­tem on an LNG-pow­ered ship, while Ja­pan-based ed­u­ca­tional NGO, Peace Boat, claims to be build­ing “the world’s green­est cruise ship”, in­cor­po­rat­ing so­lar pan­els, wind tur­bines and an on-deck ‘plant king­dom’ to pro­duce 40 per cent fewer emis­sions than other sim­i­larly sized ves­sels.

Ac­cord­ing to the CLIA, find­ing a so­lu­tion to the in­dus­try’s rather woe­ful emis­sions record is paramount, with more than US$1 bil­lion in­vested to de­sign ships that are more fuel-ef­fi­cient and en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly.

“CLIA cruise lines are heed­ing the call to re­duce sul­phur ox­ide and car­bon diox­ide emis­sions, and are tak­ing strong steps to re­duce emis­sions and in­crease the num­ber of ships em­ploy­ing ad­vanced sys­tems that re­duce sul­phur com­pounds and par­tic­u­lates,” says Joel Katz. “Where it is avail­able, many lines use shore power to fur­ther re­duce emis­sions. CLIA has worked with the In­ter­na­tional Mar­itime Or­gan­i­sa­tion to en­sure that all ships use low-sul­phur fuel by 2020.”

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0403 Marine life is a draw­card to cruis­ing the Great Bar­rier Reef © WWF/James Mor­gan 04 Ocean con­ser­va­tion is top of mind for CLIA © Shut­ter­stock/Dam­sea/WWF

0201 Plas­tic in the ocean is a ma­jor prob­lem © Rich Carey/Shut­ter­stock 02 Royal Caribbean has part­nered with WWF © WWF-Aus/Chris­tian Miller

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