Carnival UK chief warns over tighter sulphur emissions rules

Carnival UK chief warns over tighter sulphur emissions rulesThe boss of Carnival UK has warned that cruising in northern Europe “is not sacrosanct” as the shipping industry cranks up pressure against tighter planned international rules on sulphur emissions.

Chief executive David Dingle told Travel Weekly that company brands P&O Cruises and Cunard Line have already planned a 28% cut in Baltic and Norway cruises between 2013 and 2015.

Despite a large increase in new ex-UK capacity targeting newcomers to cruise holidays next year, the Baltic region is not a strong draw for new to cruise passengers, suggesting further reductions could be possible.

Dingle spoke after a cross-party group of MPs last week lobbied the government to amend the rules to give the cruise and ferry sectors time to adapt their ships.

The sulphur content of fuel must fall to 0.1% in January 2015 in the North Sea and English Channel to cut pollution.

But Dingle calculated that there was only a “50-50” chance of getting the required breathing space to allow ships to be fitted with the scrubber technology required to clean existing fuel.

The UK Chamber of Shipping wants prime minister David Cameron to lobby Brussels to buy time to allow shipping companies to install the technology.

It estimates that it could take up to two years for every ship to be fitted with the new technology – so the January 1 deadline is seen by the industry as being “entirely unrealistic”.

Dingle said lobbying would be stepped up in the second half of the year ahead of the deadline and warned of the detrimental social and economic impact that would be incurred if ferry companies had to abandon routes and cruise lines were forced to alter itineraries away from regions such as the Baltics and Norway.

DFDS has already announced the closure of the Harwich to Esbjerg route and there are fears that 2,000 jobs could be lost across the country if other routes are forced to closed.

“Northern Europe is not sacrosanct even at a time when cruise lines are starting to grow capacity,” said Dingle.

UK Chamber of Shipping CEO Guy Platten said: “We support the move to reduce sulphur emissions and the introduction of tough new limits.

“But the sharp increase in demand for low sulphur fuel will see a massive spike in costs both for ship owners and potentially for ordinary diesel car users – so we need to use the new technology instead. But that technology is only now beginning to work, and could take up to two years to fit properly to all of our ships.

“Reducing sulphur is a job we agree needs doing, but it needs to be done in a pragmatic way that protects jobs as well as the environment. All we’re asking for is the EU to understand the practical realities we face and give us the time we need to comply.

“A report by [consultants] AMEC recently said if we implement new regulations before the technology is ready, then 2,000 UK jobs could be lost, thousands more lorries will clog up our roads and 12 million tonnes of additional Co2 will be emitted into our atmosphere unnecessarily every year (Travel Weekly June 12).

“We know other countries within the EU share our concerns – but they are waiting for leadership from the UK.

“So this is an issue in Europe where the prime minister can make a real difference, it is a real opportunity for him to stand up for British business in Europe and succeed. We are simply asking that he takes it.”

Cruise lines working with authorities over Venice lagoon debate

Cruise lines working with authorities over Venice lagoon debate

By Hollie-Rae Merrick

Cruise lines working with authorities over Venice lagoon debateCruise lines are working with Italian authorities to look at the option of moving the port in Venice to another part of the canal after concerns over the ships’ impact on the city.

Speaking at a Clia press conference earlier today, Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Cruises, said the industry was working with officials to find a solution and was looking at different canals to establish which would be the best alternative.

His comments came just days after protesters delayed a procession of cruise ships for over an hour by leaping into Venice’s Guidecca canal. The demonstrators believe the cruise ships are threatening the city’s foundations and want the port moved to an island away from the city.

Vago said the issue was “deeply emotional” for some Venetians, however the majority support the cruise lines calling at the destination.

He said there was no environmental impact on Venice by the vessels as cruise lines had already agreed to have a low sulphur admission on entering the city.

Vago said lines and authorities were looking at the ecosystems in the waters surrounding Venice to establish whether there was an alternative and appropriate route.

He added: “We (the cruise industry) are important to the city of Venice, everybody understands that.

“One shop out of six lives because of the cruise industry, 33% of the hotel industry lives because of the cruise industry. It is an emotional impact.”

Howard Frank, Carnival Corporation’s vice chairman and chief operating officer said he agreed that the issue was not a environmental one.

He said the industry needed to do a better job in getting the message out about how environmentally friendly cruise ships had become.

Carnival to Drydock 32 Ships by 1H 2016

Carnival to Drydock 32 Ships by 1H 2016

By Greg Trauthwein
File (Photo: Carnival)
(Photo: Carnival)

In the quest meet stringent new emissions regulations, cruise industry major Carnival Corp. earlier this month reached an agreement in principle with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Coast Guard to develop its own advanced emission control technology to be used in waters surrounding U.S. coasts. The plan calls for the cruise major to drydock 32 ships between now and the first half of 2016.

According to the EPA, Carnival will develop and deploy a new exhaust gas cleaning system on up to 32 ships over the next three years to be used in Emission Control Areas (ECA’s), the area around U.S. and Canadian coasts where ships must reduce air pollution emissions.
The new controls to be developed and deployed combine the use of sulfur oxide (SOx) scrubbers with diesel particulate filters, which essentially combines technologies well known in the power plant and automotive sectors, but not previously used together on a marine vessel.
The technology can also provide additional benefits in the reduction of particulate matter and black carbon, and according to the release from the government, will provide an opportunity for ECA compliance at a significant (50% or greater) reduction in cost and may yield emission reductions beyond those required by current requirements.

The ECAs were developed by the U.S. and Canada through an agreement with the International Maritime Organization  (IMO) in order to protect human health and the environment by significantly reducing air pollution from ocean-going vessels. By 2020, ECA limits will reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 320,000 tons, particulate matter (PM) emissions by 90,000 tons, and SOx by 920,000 tons. Each year, the standard will also result in the prevention of tens of thousands of premature deaths while relieving respiratory symptoms for nearly five million people.
This announcement follows a growing trend, as in late 2012 U.S. containership owner TOTE announced its plans to build a series of high-spec ships at NASSCO that incorporated MAN Diesel & Turbo engines capable of burning LNG as fuel.
A joint letter from the Coast Guard and the U.S. EPA to Michael Kaczmarck, Carnival’s VP of Shipbuilding, said: “Under the proposed trial program, Carnival will install exhaust gas cleaning systems for engines on 32 vessels that operate in the ECAs, and those systems will help enable the vessels to meet or exceed the sulfur emission levels required within the ECAs. We understand that Carnival will install sufficient exhaust gas cleaning capacity on each of the ships to meet or exceed the 2015 ECA fuel sulfur requirements. Additionally, these exhaust gas cleaning systems will be installed during vessel drydocks on the following schedule: 9 ships in 2014; 16 ships in 2015 and 7 ships in the first half of 2016.”