August 21, 2018 - "Same procedure as every year" is what you would think when NABU annually points out the environmental dangers of cruise ships. Also in the current year the motto is: "Ship exhaust gases harm people and the environment." So nothing new? But: of 76 cruise ships examined, a German ship came first this time. And his career is still to come.
As always, it's about heavy fuel oil. Admittedly the “dirtiest” fuel ever. It is a waste product from oil refineries that cannot be used for anything other than propelling ships. And the cruise industry association CLIA sees itself compelled to take a position vis-à-vis NABU on some points.
Smoldering Costa neoRomantica in the port of Civitavecchia
The CLIA explains that the NABU apparently does not differentiate between driving areas. It is about shipping traffic on the North and Baltic Seas. The CLIA declares that the use of heavy fuel oil, for example in the North and Baltic Seas and the neighboring ports, is prohibited without the use of appropriate filters. Without exhaust gas aftertreatment systems (scrubbers), cruise ships are not allowed to enter the areas with heavy fuel oil. Instead, you have to use marine diesel or LPG.
The CLIA declares that, according to its surveys, 111 of the current 253 ships in the global fleet of CLIA member companies are equipped with an exhaust gas cleaning system as of August 2018. It can be assumed that between 350 and 400 cruise ships are in service worldwide. It would be interesting to know how much ships damaging the environment (cargo ships, naval ships) are used worldwide. Cautious estimates are around 50.000. Very few of these ships are likely to burn fuels other than heavy oil.
AIDAnova in front of Hamburg's Elbphilharmonie - rendering © AIDA Cruises
The CLIA explains that the NABU also speaks of a massive pollution caused by the "excessive air pollution caused by the booming cruise industry". That too is not based on facts. According to CLIA, for example, cruise ships only contribute 1 percent to nitrogen oxide emissions in Hamburg.
Further lines of argument against this year's NABU ranking will follow. Our conclusion: NABU and the cruise industry are apparently irreconcilable. - Incidentally, NABU continued the AIDAnova, a ship that is prepared for the use of liquefied gas, took first place in the ranking as the most environmentally friendly of 76 cruise ships examined. That should fit.