MSC Cruises commits to carbon-neutral operations

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MSC Cruises committed to fully carbon-neutral maritime operations during the christening ceremony for the MSC Grandiosa in Hamburg, Germany.

Starting on 1 January 2020, all carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from MSC Cruises’ fleet will be offset through internationally recognised offset programmes, including blue carbon credits.

This commitment is part of the company’s broader plans for sustainability, which include a target to reduce the carbon intensity rate of the cruise line’s fleet and investing in advanced environmental technology that will allow for zero-emissions ship operations.

“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,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ executive chairman. “Thanks to our long-term planning, this will allow us to already achieve a fleet-wide 29% reduction in carbon intensity (rate) by 2024 versus 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 onboard MSC Europa – the first of five LNG-powered cruise ships that are due to join our fleet,” Vago continued. 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 recognise 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 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 CO2 emissions from its fleet marine operations through a blend of carbon offset projects developed according to international standards.

“We will work with leading providers in carbon offsets credits, able to offset CO2 emissions with the highest level of integrity,” said Vago. “Our vision is to also invest in projects that provide quantifiable community benefits, protect the environment and support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.”

MSC Cruises plans to develop a carbon offset portfolio that includes projects to protect and restore ocean and coastal habitats while absorbing CO2. As ‘blue carbon’ projects focussed mainly on coastal habitats are scarce, MSC Cruises will support their development.

“Blue carbon offsets will be a specific area of focus of our commitment to ensure carbon neutrality,” said Vago. “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 zero-emissions operations includes a focus on energy efficiency in its end-to-end operations. Since 2017 all MSC Cruises’ new ships are equipped with ship-to-shore power facilities, which allow them to go emissions-free at any port that supports the technology.

MSC Cruises has also started construction on MSC Europa, the first of five LNG-powered cruise ships that due to come into service between 2022 and 2027.

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Marisa has been writing about transport design and the passenger experience since 2013 and is also a contributor to sister titles Aircraft Interiors International and Business Jet Interiors International. She has travelled the world extensively by car, plane, train and cruise liner.

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