MSC Meraviglia: ‘8 Golden Pearls’ from Bureau Veritas

Sergio Castellano, Environmental Director, MSC Cruises  --  Philippe Donche-Gay, President Marine & Offshore, Bureau Veritas  --  Mattia Manzi, Master of MSC Meraviglia

Bureau Veritas has recognized MSC Cruises with the “8 Golden Pearls” award for sustainability and environmental stewardship onboard the MSC Meraviglia, the company announced. MSC becomes the first cruise line to take home the honours.

Philippe Donche-Gay, President Marine & Offshore, Bureau Veritas commented: “MSC Cruises has demonstrated its commitment to reducing the environmental impact of their operations and we commend the company for its wide-ranging, ongoing efforts in this space. The various sustainable and environmental technologies installed on the MSC Meraviglia put the ship at the forefront of cleaner cruise operations. The Bureau Veritas 8 Golden Pearls award reflects MSC Cruises’ commitment to excellence and continual improvement in environmental performance.”

Bud Darr, Executive Vice President Maritime Policy and Government Affairs, MSC Group said: “We are honoured to receive this award, and we thank Bureau Veritas for their recognition and ongoing support. They are an invaluable partner on this journey and we look forward to continuing making further progress in the area of environmental stewardship.”

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Among the highlights onboard are an exhaust gas cleaning system and advanced wastewater treatment.

In addition to the wastewater treatment, the ship has a holding capacity and Non-Discharge Operation for two days allowing for more autonomy and more flexible navigation, the company said.

In addition, the ship meets the high ISO 22000 standard for food safety. This certification covers food safety management systems across the entire food supply and preparation chain from “farm to fork.”

The Cruise Industry Remains Committed to the Environment

The Cruise Industry Remains Committed to the Environment
PHOTO: Holland America Line’s Westerdam in Alaska. (photo by Jason Leppert)

President Donald Trump may have announced that he will be pulling the US out of the Paris climate accord, but the worldwide cruise industry remains committed to environmental protection.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) recently outlined the many ways conservation is promoted within.

“The cruise industry recognizes the importance of taking active measures to preserve our environment and we are constantly striving to develop more eco-friendly practices that enable travelers to stay green’ while traveling,” said Cindy D’Aoust, president and CEO, CLIA, in a press release. “Cruise lines have continued to offer new incentives for earth-friendly travel and know that this attention to our own environmental impact is not only beneficial, it is vital.”

The following are among the many eco-friendly programs and incentives:

Green Policies

Lots of cruise ships partake in recycling and waste treatment at sea as well as on land. Seabourn, for example, specifically utilizes advanced waste water treatment systems and environmentally-friendly cleaning supplies. It also recycles and donates reusable items.

It continues to increase fuel efficiency every year with new ships including low-flow passenger toilets, sinks and showers.

Dedicated Officers

Many CLIA Members employ dedicated officers charged with daily environmental program oversight. Each Disney Cruise Line ship stations Environmental Officers to check water quality and supply. It trains these officers and crew on waste minimization and environmental safety while supervising initiatives such as recycling.

Sustainable Practices

Cruise lines frequently collaborate with eco-friendly vendors and destinations that seek to reduce their carbon footprint. For one, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection works with environmentally-conscious businesses like organic wineries.

Smart Ships

Smart technologies allow modern ships to conserve energy, water and fuel. Examples include Carnival Cruise Line’s partnership with the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the City of Long Beach, California, and Southern California Edison on shore power.

Similarly, Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum-class and Harmony of the Seas smart HVAC have dropped cooling energy consumption by a quarter.

Waste Minimization & Creative Composting

Up front, cruise lines work to reduce supply packaging and then compost food waste. In fact, MSC Cruises uses incinerators, food pulpers, grinders and compactors for garbage processing while Costa Cruises was the first travel company to sign the Milan Protocol.

Solar Sailing

For ships that can, energy waste is reduced by utilizing renewable battery power and solar energy for some systems. AmaWaterways’ Zambezi Queen employs low-emission generators by day and batteries by night, using solar heating for its hot water supply.

Cruise for the Earth

Green voluntourism is available to guests who want to travel and better the world. Azamara Club Cruises has partnered with World Wildlife Fund, and WWF guest speakers are featured on some sailings.

Corporate cousin Celebrity Cruises also encourages Celebrity Xpedition guests to plant trees in Galapagos National Park in support of the Scalescia reforestation effort.

Wildlife Conservation

The environment’s inhabitants are just as important to cruise lines, and Holland America Line has an “Avoiding Whale Strikes” training program in cooperation with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) and the National Parks Service.

All the company’s deck officers have gone through the course, which is also being shared broadly with the cruise and maritime community.

Proper Disposal

Another crucial element of environmental protection is for crew members and guests to remove garbage responsibly. Crystal Cruises, for instance, promotes its “Crystal Clean” initiatives to communicate environmental education. Of course, it’s important to properly recycle and reuse not only paper and plastic but also glass, aluminum, scrap metal, cooking oil, petroleum oil, toner cartridges, electronics and certain chemicals.

Smarter Sewage

Lastly, technology can also assist in lessening the impact of sewage and water waste, as Avalon Waterways has found with its multi-step procedure and specialized onboard sewage treatment system.

Clia denies claims cruise is failing at corporate responsibility

Clia denies claims cruise is failing at corporate responsibilityClia UK has hit out at a report critical of the cruise industry and declared it “seriously flawed with inaccuracies”.

The Leeds Metropolitan University report claims cruise lines are failing at corporate responsibility to staff and the environment.

The report, published in the latest issue of the journal Tourism Management, claims that the cruise industry is failing to provide meaningful data over what is it doing to minimise impact to the environment.

Clia said it found the report “deeply disappointing”. The study analyses the “industry’s lack of corporate social disclosure and ranks companies through analysis of their corporate social responsibility reports and websites to provide the first cruise sector sustainability reporting index.”

It claims 65% of the 80 cruise companies investigated did not mention corporate social responsibility on their websites and that only 12 brands publish corporate social reports.

Clia said: “The cruise industry is highly regulated on an international basis to exacting standards towards both the environment and labour welfare.

“We find the Leeds Metropolitan report deeply disappointing as it is seriously flawed with inaccuracies and subjective commentary which fly in the face of the facts of the achievements that the cruise industry delivers throughout the world.

“In both areas we go above and beyond those high thresholds to enable our 21 million annual global customers to enjoy the seas in which they cruise and be cared for and looked after by a motivated and content workforce.

“We put great store into our social responsibilities and we make an enormously positive impact on national economies all around the world, to the tune of €37.9 billion a year in Europe.”

The report also questioned whether enough was being done to protect marine ecosystems and claimed there was limited public data to “sustain the claim that cruise industry contributed to the economy by creating jobs and contributing to the local economy of the destinations visited.”

Dr Xavier Font, the lead author of the study, explained: “Most companies report soft data, such as statements from their CEOs, that are easy to copy and do not show real change.

“Companies mostly report on their corporate vision and strategy, their credentials and their governance and management systems, but they fail to report on actual performance data on many key environmental and socio-economic indicators.

“Reporting on emissions, effluents, waste or water is the result of eco-saving strategies and regulatory pressure.

“But not one of the 80 companies reports on the sustainability of the resources consumed or biodiversity actions, and few disclose their positive social or economic impact on destinations.”

Clia highlighted that cruise lines invest in technology to reduce the impact to the environment, that the industry has adopted voluntary standards to govern the discharge of wastewater, and that the industry is in full compliance with international and regional rules on air emissions.