We are pretty sure you have probably heard in the news, seen on TV or maybe one of your friends or family have mentioned to you something like, “those cruise ships are horrible for the environment!” Well, there is a lot of information out there on the “web” about cruise lines and the environment and some of it is true while others may be labeled as sensationalism. Regardless, in this lesson we are going to review some of the positive initiatives that the local cruise lines that sail out of Port Everglades are actively working on for Mother Earth!
Let’s start this lesson off with some definitions of frequently used acronyms and vocabulary words in this subject matter so that we can better understand the passage and become more fluid in the jargon used in this industry.
AWP: Advance Wastewater Purification
ASC: Aquaculture Stewardship Council
Ballast Water: is seawater brought onto a ship to help stabilize it.
Bunkering: Acquiring water from local sources at ports of call
CLIA: Cruise Line International Association
ECA: Emission Control Areas
FIP: Fishery Improvement Project
GSTC: Global Sustainable Tourism Council
HFO: Heavy Fuel Oil
Hull: the main body of a ship or other vessel, including the bottom, sides, and deck but not the masts, superstructure, rigging, engines, and other fittings.
IMO: International Maritime Organization
ISSA: International Seafood Sustainability Association
LNG: Liquified Natural Gas
MSC: Marine Stewardship Council
Port of Call: a place where a ship stops on a voyage.
(RO) Reverse Osmosis: Reverse Osmosis (RO) is a water treatment process that removes contaminants from water by using pressure to force water molecules through a semipermeable membrane. During this process, the contaminants are filtered out and flushed away, leaving clean, delicious drinking water.
WWF: World Wildlife Fund
Now that we have those definitions out of the way, let’s dive in deep into some of these initiatives!
Royal Caribbean and Princess Cruise Lines are two examples that we are going to refer to in this lesson.
Royal Caribbean believes that they have a responsibility to their guests, their employees, and the communities they visit, but most critically they have a responsibility to the oceans, which are at the very essence of their business. With this statement, many of their initiatives are developed.
Since 1992, when they developed their Save the Waves® program, they have focused on waste management and decided to make a company-wide philosophy of social responsibility and sustainability practices that guide many of their business decisions. More than $13 million has gone to support marine conservation and education programs. They choose projects that focus on sustainable fishing initiatives, climate change research, species preservation, and education and destination stewardship.
They guide themselves with four key principals:
Royal Caribbean entered into a five-year partnership with the WWF in 2016 to focus on ensuring the long-term health of the oceans. They primarily focus on working to reduce Royal Caribbean’s environmental footprint, support WWF’s global oceans conservation work, and raise awareness among Royal Caribbean's passengers about the importance of ocean conservation.
Click beach image to watch a video on ocean conservation.
Some of the targets they have in place in 2020 are:
Since 2002, Princess Cruise Lines has invested significant resources in new technology, equipment and training in regards to environmental issues. They are working to ensure they show progress with reducing their emissions, fuel consumption, water and energy use.
Like most of the other major cruise lines, Princess is working to eliminate most single-use plastic items from all ships and replace them with dispensers or recycle-friendly alternatives. Many major cruise lines have pledged to stop using plastic straws aboard their ships, replacing them with paper straws or no straws at all. Single use plastic reduction also includes silverware, drinkware and plastic bags.
By 2021 many ships will plan to eliminate plastic water bottles.
In recent years, international, national, regional, and local governments have changed laws and regulations to require that ships operating near shore burn cleaner marine fuels. The regions where fuel sulfur content is restricted are often referred to as Emission Control Areas or ECAs. Outside ECAs, ships can burn heavy fuel oil (HFO) which may contain as much as 3.5% sulfur. Inside ECAs, ships can burn marine fuel with a cap of 0.5% sulfur.
In the cruise industry, the cost of fuel is significant. Because lower sulfur fuel is substantially more expensive than higher sulfur fuel – sometimes the cost is nearly double – the fuel sulfur requirements can have a big impact on the company’s bottom line. In order to meet the new low sulfur fuel requirements in a cost-effective way, Princess Cruise Lines is investing in Advanced Air Quality Systems (AAQS) technology also called Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (EGCS). The Princess fleet is fully engaged in this program – by 2020 14 ships will have EGCS installations and future ships will come with them already installed!
More new ships also rely on LNG rather than diesel for propulsion. Not only can LNG be cheaper than diesel, but it also produces less harmful emissions. The problem is that LNG fueling stations are not yet widely available, limiting where these newer ships can sail.
Modern day cruise ships are also constantly looking at the design of their vessels to ensure efficiency and the environment.
Here are some examples of how designs can affect efficiency and the environment:Here are some examples of how designs can affect efficiency and the environment:
This has been a lot of technical information, but the cruise business is a big business and the environment is a big deal, so we need to get this right! Right?
Some of the actions that the cruise lines are implementing are small ones that are happening within our own neighborhoods. We all need to start somewhere and locally is usually a great stepping stone!
These positions typically conduct environmental assessments, ensure environmental compliance, assist crew to understand recycling, waste handling, and pollution prevention. Environmental Officer usually reports directly to the Captain.
Usually you will need an Environmental, Science, or Engineer based bachelor’s degree or higher. You will also need to be familiar with environmental quality standards, marine regulations, and current maritime environmental issues.