On Tuesday morning (11th November) the port of Southampton welcomed MSC Cruises newest flagship the brand new MSC Grandiosa on her inaugural visit to the UK’s no.1 cruise port.
Just two days after she was christened in Hamburg her visit to Southampton is part of a series of inaugural celebrations as she heads to the Mediterranean to start her maiden season.
MSC’s new flagship
With a length of 331 metres, 181,541GRT and with a maximum capacity of 6334 guests, MSC Grandiosa is the first of the new Meraviglia-plus class and is now the largest ship in MSC Cruises ever growing fleet.
According to the line she is also one of the most environmentally friendly ships at sea and features a host of technology including closed loop Hybrid Exhaust cleaning system (EGCS) which reduces SOx exhaust emissions, Ballast water treatment system, energy-saving LED lighting throughout, and shore-to-ship power technology all of which are designed to reduce the ships impact on the environment.
Along with 500 travel agents, travel media and a host of other UK cruise bloggers I was invited by MSC Cruises for an overnight stay on board to take a look around and to sample what MSC Grandiosa has to offer.
As usual MSC now how to put on a party an following on from the success of local musician Craig David at the MSC Bellissima event earlier in the year MSC invited another famous Southampton local to play none other than Radio One DJ Scott Mills who went to Crestwood School in Eastleigh rocked the galleria grandiosa with an hour long set of music.
MSC Grandiosa was originally due to sail for Barcelona the following day however due the forecast of severe storms in the Bay of Biscay her stay has been extended, and she sailed for Barcelona 0700hrs this morning.
I will be posting a full ship review, and video coming soon.
As always thank you for taking the time to read my latest post.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Miami, FL, June 07, 2019 Luxury cruise brand Crystal Cruises have announced as of today, June 8, 2019, all plastic straws will be eliminated across the entire Crystal fleet. The company announced the initiative as the latest part of its Crystal Cares program, which comprises a broad spectrum of environmental efforts and sustainable practices. Paper straws will be available throughout the dining venues aboard Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity as well as aboard the company’s yacht, Crystal Esprit, and the Crystal River Cruises fleet. New ships will never carry plastic straws. The move coincides with the annual observance of World Oceans Day, also on June 8, designed to increase awareness of the need to preserve and protect the oceans.
“Crystal has always recognized that the world we travel is precious and deserving of our utmost care, and that all measures contributing to the preservation of our marine environments can make a significant impact,” said Crystal’s president and CEO, Tom Wolber. “This initiative, as well as the others under our Crystal Cares program, ensure that we are continuing our focus of caring for our world in meaningful ways.”
The company also recently announced a partnership with ORCA – a leading conservation organisation dedicated to the protection of whales, dolphins and porpoises – which will bring Cruise Conservationists aboard select Alaska voyages for training, research and data collection as part of its OceanWatch program.
Under its comprehensive Crystal Cares program, Crystal applies stringent “green” standards across its ships including energy efficiency and water conservation protocols and dedicated recycling programs. Additionally, the company has used a state-of-the-art water filtration system for six years in all its dining venues, producing still and sparkling drinking water reducing the use of plastic bottles. Crystal also prioritises partnerships with organisations and vendors around the world who adhere to responsible environmental and sustainability practices.
The company is also committed to extending its extraordinary service to the communities it explores and the planet. The line invites guests and crew to participate in complimentary excursions ashore that assist organisations in the communities its voyages call on in its “You Care, We Care” Crystal Volunteerism Adventures.
What is not entirely clear from the press release is whether the ban includes all single use plastic items or just plastic straws. I hope to clarify this and will update in due course.
Only the world-renowned Crystal Experience offers an unwavering, unparalleled standard of excellence and luxury across fourdistinct cruising options: Crystal Cruises, the World’s Most Awarded Luxury Cruise Line; Crystal River Cruises, the World’s Most Luxurious River Cruise Line; Crystal Yacht Cruises, offering boutique luxury and bold adventure in the world’s most elite harbours; and Crystal Expedition Cruises, taking Crystal’s acclaimed elegance to the farthest reaches of the world. Crystal has been recognized with top honours in the Condé Nast TravelerReaders’ Choice Awards for a record 25 years; voted “World’s Best” by the readers of Travel + Leisure for 20 years; and won the “Best Luxury Cruise Line” by Virtuoso for four years (2014, 2015, 2016 & 2018). Crystal is proud to be a platinum partner of the advisors of ASTA.
With our unique take on marine conservation, ORCA is a charity that’s entirely dedicated to studying and protecting whales, dolphins and porpoises in the UK and European waters.
We work to identify and protect critical whale and dolphin habitats in our waters and beyond. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters we help to create safer places for whales and dolphins ultimately promoting the health of our seas.
By getting members of the public to join our team, we’re not just helping to save whales and dolphins – we’re also giving people from all walks of life an opportunity to be close to these amazing animals in the wild, while collecting vital information that helps us work towards solving the problems they face.
Our aim is to enable local communities to become stewards of local whales and dolphins and the marine environment in which they live.
You can find out more about the work of Orca here:
With world wide emphasis on the protection of the oceans and the cruise industries continued efforts on protecting the environment it is a real shame to report on the recent development involving Carnival Corp and Princess Cruises in the USA.
Earlier this week it was announced that Carnival Corp. will pay $20 million after its subsidiary, Princess Cruises, admitted to violating the terms of its probation from a 2017 conviction for improper waste disposal. This additional fine follows the original $40 million penalty which was the largest ever for deliberate vessel pollution.
A court filing submitted on Monday said Carnival released food waste and plastic into the ocean, failed to accurately record waste disposals, created false training records, and secretly examined ships to fix environmental-compliance issues before third-party inspections without reporting its findings to the inspectors.
Monday’s settlement requires Carnival to pay $20 million within seven days, receive additional ship inspections, devote more resources to ensure compliance with its probation, reduce the number of single-use plastic items on its ships, and establish teams to improve waste management. If Carnival does not meet deadlines to revamp its compliance process, it will have to pay additional penalties of $1 million to $10 million a day.
“Carnival Corporation remains committed to environmental excellence and protecting the environment in which we live, work, and travel,” a Carnival representative said. “Our aspiration is to leave the places we touch even better than when we first arrived.”
In 2017, Princess Cruises pleaded guilty to illegally releasing oil into the ocean and deliberately hiding the practice, and it was ordered to pay $40 million. Carnival has since been on a five-year probation, during which it must allow a third-party inspector to examine its ships.
According to a report from an environmental-compliance inspector, Carnival violated environmental laws in the first year of the probation. The inspector found over 800 violations of its probation between April 2017 and April 2018, though they were accidental and disclosed by Carnival, the Miami Herald reported.
According to papers filed in court during the 2017 case, the Caribbean Princess had been making illegal discharges through bypass equipment since 2005, one year after the ship began operations. The discharge on Aug. 26, 2013, involved approximately 4,227 gallons, 23 miles off the coast of England within the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone. At the same time as the discharge, engineers simultaneously ran clean seawater through the ship’s overboard equipment in order to create a false digital record for a legitimate discharge.
Caribbean Princess used multiple methods over the course of time to pollute the seas. Prior to the installation of the bypass pipe used to make the discharge off the coast of England, a different unauthorized valve was used. When the Department of Justice investigative team conducted a consensual boarding of the ship in Houston, Texas, on March 8, 2014, they found the valve that crew members had described. When it was removed by Princess at the department’s request, it was found to contain black oil.
In addition to the use of a magic pipe to circumvent the oily water separator and oil content monitor required pollution prevention equipment, the U.S. investigation uncovered two other illegal practices which were found to have taken place on the Caribbean Princess as well as four other Princess ships – Star Princess, Grand Princess, Coral Princess and Golden Princess. One practice was to open a salt water valve when bilge waste was being processed by the oily water separator and oil content monitor. The purpose was to prevent the oil content monitor from otherwise alarming and stopping the overboard discharge. This was done routinely on the Caribbean Princess in 2012 and 2013. The second practice involved discharges of oily bilge water originating from the overflow of graywater tanks into the machinery space bilges. This waste was pumped back into the graywater system rather than being processed as oily bilge waste. Neither of these practices were truthfully recorded in the oil record book as required. All of the bypassing took place through the graywater system which was discharged when the ship was more than four nautical miles from land. As a result, discharges within U.S. waters were likely.
Additional: Announcement from the US Department of Justice: (June 2019)
Princess Cruise Lines and its Parent Company Plead Guilty to Environmental Probation Violations, Ordered to Pay $20 Million Criminal Penalty
Today, Princess Cruise Lines Ltd. (Princess) and its parent, Carnival Cruise Lines & plc (together “Carnival”) were ordered to pay a $20 million criminal penalty and will be subject to enhanced supervision after admitting to violations of probation attributable to senior Carnival management in a case in which Princess had already paid $40 million.
Princess was convicted and sentenced in April 2017, after pleading guilty to felony charges stemming from its deliberate dumping of oil-contaminated waste from one of its vessels and intentional acts to cover it up. While serving 5 years of probation, all Carnival related cruise lines vessels eligible to trade in U.S. ports were required to comply with a court approved and supervised environmental compliance plan (ECP), including audits by an independent company and oversight by a Court Appointed Monitor. Numerous violations have been identified by the company, the outside auditor, and the court’s monitor during the first two years of probation, including “major non-conformities” as defined by the ECP.
Carnival admitted it was guilty of committing six violations of probation. Two of the violations involved interfering with the court’s supervision of probation by sending undisclosed teams to ships to prepare them for the independent inspections required during probation. When this was first discovered in December 2017, U.S. District Court Judge Patricia Seitz directed that the practice cease and ordered additional inspections as a consequence. However, without seeking court approval, a second undisclosed program was started shortly thereafter. Documents filed in court showed that a purpose of the vessel visit programs was to avoid adverse findings during the inspections.
“This case demonstrates the importance of identifying and correcting compliance problems at their source. Carnival sought to avoid the discovery of problems during the audits rather than learn from them. Carnival’s deliberate deception undermined the court’s supervision of probation,” said Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “I want to take this opportunity to thank and commend the Office of Probation and the Court Appointed Monitor for the close attention that they have devoted to this important matter post-conviction.”
Carnival’s Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer attended the hearing pursuant to court’s order and were asked to personally pledge their commitment to correcting the company’s compliance issues and corporate culture. In addition, senior management of each operating cruise line of Carnival Corporation & plc were present for the court proceedings.
The company admitted to other violations of probation today including:
Failing to establish a senior corporate officer as a corporate compliance manager with responsibility and sufficient authority for implementing new environmental measures required during probation;
Contacting the Coast Guard seeking to re-define the definition of what constitutes a major non-conformity under the ECP without going through the required process and after the government had rejected the proposal and told the company to file a motion with the court if it wanted to pursue the issue;
Deliberately falsifying environmental training records aboard two cruise ships; and
Deliberately discharging plastic in Bahamian waters from the Carnival Elation and failing to accurately record the illegal discharges. Prosecutors advised the Court that this particular instance was an example of a more widespread problem, identified by the external audits, in failing to segregate plastic and non-food garbage from waste thrown overboard from numerous cruise ships.
Under the terms of the settlement, Carnival will do the following:
Pay a $20 million criminal penalty;
Issue a statement to all employees in which Carnival’s CEO accepts management’s responsibility for the probation violations;
Restructure the company’s corporate compliance efforts, including appointing a new chief Corporate Compliance Officer, creating an Executive Compliance Committee across all cruise lines, adding a new member to the Board of Directors with corporate compliance expertise, and train its Board of Directors;
Pay up to $10 million per day if it does not meet deadlines for submitting and implementing needed changes to its corporate structure;
Pay for 15 additional independent audits per year conducted by the third-party auditor and Court Appointed Monitor (on top of approximately 31 ship audits and 6 shore-side audits currently performed annually);
Comply with new reporting requirements, including notifying the government and court of all future violations, and specifically identifying foreign violations and the country impacted; and
Make major changes in how the company uses and disposes of plastic and other non-food waste to urgently address a problem on multiple vessels concerning illegal discharges of plastic mixed with other garbage.
The revised sentence imposed by Judge Seitz also requires that Princess remain on probation for a period of three years.