MSC Cruises has announced its commitment to become the world’s first fully carbon neutral major global cruise line. MSC Cruises Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago says that ever since MSC launched its first commercial cruise ship in 2003, the company has been “one of the highest environmentally performing” operators on the seas.
“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.”
Speaking at the delivery of MSC Grandiosa, Vago said the further commitment “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 a 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.”
MSC Cruises will offset all direct carbon dioxide emissions from its fleet marine operations through a blend of carbon offset projects 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.
Vago added: “We will work with leading providers in carbon offsets 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.
Blue carbon offsets will be a specific area of focus “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.”
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.
Currently, MSC Grandiosa and 10 other ships in MSC Cruises’ fleet of 17 ships are equipped for cleaner emissions with hybrid (closed-loop) EGCS. The line’s six other ships will be retrofitted with the technology by the end of 2023 and until then will rely on the use of low sulphur fuels to always fully comply with the strictest existing as well as new maritime regulations.
MSC Europa, the Company’s first liquified natural gas (LNG)-powered ship, will deliver more than 99 per cent reduction in SOx and up to 85 per cent NOx emissions, while also largely eliminating particular matter from the exhaust. LNG will also allow for a 20 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions.