Cutting-edge R&D, innovation and a long-term approach to the complete integration of sustainability are the cornerstones of our pursuit of the design and development of cruise ships. This is the logic behind the recent placement of orders for two new ships that will be powered by LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas), as part of a bigger project announced by the parent company. LNG-fueled vessels are environmentally superior to those using conventional Heavy Fuel Oil insofar as the former are dramatically more effective at meeting progressive emissions-reduction regulations, very much in line with the company’s commitment to protection of the environment in general and the marine environment in particular. The introduction of these new generation vessels, the world’s first LNG-powered cruise ships, which will be sailing for Costa Cruises from 2019, has been hailed as a crucial step toward curbing the cruise industry’s emissions. LNG is considered the most “environmentally friendly” fossil fuel available and is set to become the fuel of choice for shipping. It is, quite simply, natural gas (mainly methane, CH4) used in its liquid form for storage or transportation; this type of fuel does not contain sulfur and is thus free of sulfur oxide (SOx) emissions, while it also enables very significant reductions in both nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions (of up to 85%) and PM (particulate matter), with PM in the exhaust gas being almost entirely eliminated (a 95%-100% reduction). From a safety perspective, LNG offers the same – if not better – guarantees than conventional fuels.
The pioneering contract to build the LNG-powered cruise ships is consistent with our fleet enhancement strategy designed to replace ships that have less efficient capacity with newer and more fuel-efficient vessels. This innovative approach pre-empts industry trends, guarantees environmental compliance and is a further step to attainment of Costa Cruises’ ambitious sustainability objectives.