GREENER SEAS

Ships are steadily steer­ing a course for sus­tain­able travel

Sunday Herald Sun - Escape - - LINER NOTES - AN­DREA BLACK

There is un­der­stand­able con­cern about the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact of the cruis­ing boom on the world’s oceans, rivers and ports. Re­ports of over­crowd­ing in ports and the ris­ing pop­u­lar­ity of re­mote and newer routes to places such as UN­ESCO World Her­itage sites have raised fears for marine en­vi­ron­ments and coast­lines. And let’s not for­get the ele­phant in the room (er, sea) – namely ves­sel car­bon emis­sions and waste.

Cruise lines are tak­ing a more proac­tive stance to make their ships and cruis­ing more sus­tain­able and this is some­thing those plan­ning a hol­i­day want too. Lead­ing lux­ury and ex­pe­ri­en­tial travel net­work Vir­tu­oso is see­ing a ris­ing in­ter­est among clients in search of sus­tain­able tourism. Trav­ellers are fac­tor­ing in sus­tain­able tourism prac­tices when mak­ing travel de­ci­sions. Here are some steps in the right di­rec­tion.

POW­ERED BY NAT­U­RAL GAS

With a dead­line set by the In­ter­na­tional Marine Or­ga­ni­za­tion of Jan­uary 1, 2020, for a sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion in the sul­phur con­tent of the fuel oil used by ships, cruise com­pa­nies are look­ing at al­ter­na­tive sources in or­der to com­ply. A num­ber of com­pa­nies have in­vested in LNGpow­ered ships. Royal Caribbean Cruises will in­tro­duce its first fleet of LNG ships on its Icon-class ships from 2022. The com­pany is also in­vest­ing in fuel cell tech­nol­ogy, which con­verts chem­i­cals into elec­tric­ity. And Car­ni­val Cor­po­ra­tion has com­mit­ted to 11 next-gen­er­a­tion cruise ships that will be fully pow­ered by LNG be­tween now and 2025.

This De­cem­ber, Car­ni­val’s AIDAnova will make its maiden voy­age as the world’s first cruise ship which can be pow­ered at sea and in port by LNG. MSC Cruises’ fifth Mer­av­iglia-class ship, set to launch in 2023, will use LNG, as will its two new builds due to launch in 2022 and 2024.

WIND FARMS TO OFF­SET EMIS­SIONS

Royal Caribbean Cruises re­cently an­nounced a part­ner­ship with a wind tur­bine elec­tric plant in Kansas, US. Royal Caribbean’s goal is to re­duce green­house emis­sions by 35 per cent by 2020, ac­cord­ing to its 2017 Sus­tain­abil­ity Re­port.

Mean­while, Pere­grine has been car­bon-off­set­ting its ad­ven­ture cruises since 2016. Par­ent com­pany In­trepid has been car­bon-neu­tral since 2010. It cal­cu­lates pas­sen­gers’ car­bon emis­sions, and neu­tralises them on their be­half.

THE LAST STRAW

Across the board, cruise com­pa­nies are com­mit­ting to re­duce plas­tic con­sump­tion. Royal Caribbean has vowed to be rid of plas­tic straws by the end of this year. Sim­i­larly, Nor­we­gian Cruise Line an­nounced its plan to elim­i­nate sin­gle-use plas­tic straws on its 26 ships and two is­land stops.

MSC Cruises is the lat­est cruise com­pany to an­nounce the phas­ing out of plas­tic straws. It also said that by March 2019, vir­tu­ally all sin­gle-use plas­tics will be re­moved or re­placed, in­clud­ing “in­vis­i­ble” sin­gle-use plas­tic items from the en­tire sup­ply chain, if al­ter­na­tives are avail­able.

“For nearly 10 years (since 2009) we no longer pro­vide sin­gle-serve per­sonal care prod­ucts in cabin, (we) have in­stalled sus­tain­able re­fill­able soap and sham­poo dis­pensers in cab­ins,” says Lynne Clarke, MSC Cruises Aus­tralia man­ag­ing di­rec­tor. “Sin­gle-use plas­tics sim­ply don’t be­long at sea and we don’t want them any more on any of our ships.”

CAR­NI­VAL’S AIDANOVA

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