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Tourism: Cruise ships should become more sustainable

Tourism: Cruise ships should become more sustainable

The peak season for cruise ships in German ports begins in April. The shipping companies want to achieve their sustainability goals with new fuels and shore power.

The issue of sustainability is becoming more of a focus for shipping companies. Among other things, they rely on alternative fuels for their new buildings. Tui Cruises will take the “Mein Schiff 7” into service in early summer.

The ship will initially run on lower-emission marine diesel, said managing director Wybcke Meier before the start of the cruise season. In the future it could be powered by methanol, and in the future also green methanol.

According to Tui Cruises, another new building, which is scheduled to start sailing in winter 2024/25, will be powered by liquid natural gas (LNG). According to its own information, Aida Cruises already has two LNG cruise ships in operation: the “AIDAnova” and “AIDAcosma”. MSC Cruises is also building its new ships to run on liquid gas. They could also be retrofitted to run on green methanol, reported spokesman Dominik Gebhard.

Shore power instead of noise

The shipping companies are also concerned with the power supply for the ships at their berths. If there is no shore power, the ship’s engines have to continue running in the port and cause emissions as well as noise. MSC Cruises says it has converted 59 percent of its ships to use shore power, and this should be 72 percent by the end of the year. Tui Cruises wants to add three new ships to the “Mein Schiff” fleet in the next two years, all of which will be capable of shore power. According to the company, five of the six ships from the existing fleet were also retrofitted.

The expansion of shore power is also making progress at German ports. New systems went into operation in Hamburg and Kiel in 2023, and Bremerhaven plans to offer the first shore power connection for cruise ships in autumn 2025. The key driver in this issue is the EU, which is requiring shore power supply in all important ports by 2030.

According to the International Shipowners Association ICS, the cruise industry should be climate-neutral by 2050. This is going too slowly for climate protectors. The environmental organization Nabu criticized in the fall that emissions from the entire industry had recently continued to rise. However, when it comes to shore power, Germany is playing a positive pioneering role.

Source: Stern

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