MSC cruises to become the world’s first global cruise line to go carbon neutral

All of CO2 emissions from MSC Cruises’ fleet to be offset as of 1 January 2020 through high-grade that will increasingly rely on Blue carbon credits 

Announcement comes as part of a broader vision to support UN Sustainable Development Goals and in tandem with continued investments in the accelerated development of advanced environmental technology that will allow for zero-emissions ship operations

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MSC Grandiosa in Rotterdam Image MSC Cruises

The environment is something very close to my heart and as I work in the shipping industry any news of companies working to reduce the impact on the environment is of great interest to me, so I was very pleased to see the announcement by MSC Cruises yesterday that it is to become the first global cruise line to go carbon neutral.

How does a company become Carbon Neutral?

Becoming carbon neutral is achieved by calculating a carbon footprint and reducing it to zero through a combination of in-house efficiency measures and funding an equivalent amount of carbon savings elsewhere in the world through carbon offsetting projects.

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What is carbon offsetting?

Each and everyone of us has a carbon footprint, from individuals to organisations, and quite simply our carbon footprint is defined as the total emissions caused by an individual, event, organization, or product, expressed as carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent. If a cruise line was to reduce its carbon footprint then the easiest steps could be to stop using single use plastics, invest in ship-shore power technology while in port and use power saving technology onboard its ships. Once these steps have been taken carbon offsetting is the way for the company to take full responsibility for its residual carbon emissions, e.g. by paying or investing into projects that aim to reduce the amount of C02 in the atmosphere with schemes like planting trees, renewable energy etc.

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Carbon Offsetting

MSC Cruises announced that it will will offset all direct carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from its fleet marine operations through a blend of carbon offset projects developed according to the highest standards by leading international entities that take immediate action on greenhouse gas emissions. All costs for the offsets as well as any other associated items will be covered directly and in full by the Company.

Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises Executive Chairman said: “Our focus on innovation since we built our first cruise ships only in 2003 ensures that we have one of the most modern fleets at sea as well as one of the highest environmentally performing. And, thanks to our long-term planning, this will allow us to already achieve a fleet-wide 29% reduction in carbon intensity (rate) by 2024 vs. 2008, well on our way to meet the 40% reduction target set for 2030.

 “Additionally, last week we announced that the LNG-powered fuel cells PACBOAT project will be hosted on board MSC Europa – the first of 5 LNG-powered cruise ships that are due to join our fleet. This is not only a world-first for a technology that promises to be most efficient for high-power maritime operations but also yet another concrete example of our firm commitment to partner and support the accelerated development of the next-generation technologies that will lead us and this industry to zero-emissions ship operations.”

 “As we recognize that today’s even most advanced maritime environmental technology alone is insufficient to immediately reach carbon neutrality, the further commitment we make today ensures that our fleet makes no negative contribution to climate change, starting 1 January 2020. We are a company with over 300 years of maritime heritage and an historical focus on the long-term that is especially typical of family-owned businesses like ours. For us, this is another step forward in our long-standing commitment to protecting the oceans, the destinations we visit and the port communities we touch.”

All new ships that have joined the fleet since 2017 MSC Seaside, MSC Seaview, MSC Meraviglia, MSC Bellissima and MSC Grandiosa have been fitted with ship-to-shore power, also known as “cold ironing” this technology allows the ship to plug directly into the ports electrical supply rather than keep their generators running.

Mr Vago added: “We will work with leading providers in carbon credits able to offset CO2 emissions with the highest level of integrity. Our vision is to also invest in projects that provide quantifiable community benefits, protect the environment and support the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”

In particular, MSC Cruises aims to develop a carbon offset portfolio that incorporates projects which protect and restore Ocean and coastal habitats while also absorbing more CO2 than currently occurs. As Blue Carbon projects focused mainly on coastal habitats are currently scarce, MSC Cruises will itself support the development of what aims to become the first carbon credits to be generated from the earth’s vast ocean, constituting an important new means for protecting and enhancing marine biodiversity and to support communities that rely on the highly pressurized resources of the sea.

Mr Vago concluded: “Blue carbon offsets will be a specific area of focus of our commitment to ensure carbon neutrality with immediate effect. We will put our people and our resources to work to also support the development of the specific type of projects, and the enabling certification processes, that can generate this innovative form of offsets which directly benefit the oceans and communities that live by the sea. As more of these become available, we will steadily increase our reliance on them as an additional area of focus within our overall long-term commitment to achieving zero-emissions operations.”

MSC Cruises’ commitment to delivering zero-emissions operations also includes a specific focus on energy efficiency and other aspects of its end-to-end operations beyond emissions. In particular, since 2017 all MSC Cruises new ships come equipped with ship-to-shore power facilities, a feature that would allow cruise ships to immediately go “zero-emissions” in any port that is ready for this technology. And this will provide even greater overall benefit when the ultimate source of shore power is renewable.

Currently, MSC Grandiosa and 10 other ships in MSC Cruises’ fleet of 17 ships are equipped for cleaner emissions with hybrid EGCS’ (Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems) which remove 98 percent of sulphur dioxide from a ship’s exhausts.

The line’s six other ships will be retrofitted with the technology by the end of 2021, the company said, and until then will rely on the use of low sulphur fuels to always fully comply with the strictest current and new maritime regulations.

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MSC Grandiosa arriving in Hamburg ahead of her naming ceremony Image: MSC Cruises

Details of MSC Cruises’ carbon neutral initiative was revealed at a dedicated media briefing on board MSC Grandiosa, MSC Cruises’ newest flagship and one of the most environmentally-advanced ships at sea yet. MSC Grandiosa was delivered to the Company only last week. On the same day, MSC Cruises started construction on MSC Europa, its first of five liquified natural gas (LNG)-powered cruise ships that will come into service between 2022 and 2027.

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MSC Europa first World Class ship Image: MSC Cruises

MSC Grandiosa and MSC Europa together represent significant additional progress in terms of delivering against MSC Cruises’ objective to minimize and continuously lowering its fleet environmental footprint.

 

I am excited to be joining MSC Grandiosa for an overnight stay on board in Southampton on Tuesday so be sure to follow my social media channels for updates.

you for taking the time to read my latest post.

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