Port of Seattle honors lines for environmental practices
The Port of Seattle presented Green Gateway Awards to four cruise lines that operate in Alaska for their commitment to protecting the environment. The four are Celebrity Cruises, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean.
The Port presents the Green Gateway Awards to cruise and container lines that call at the port and whose environmental efforts are deemed worthy of recognition.
Celebrity’s use of low-sulfur fuels beyond the required levels and energy efficient water consumption practices contributed to its scores in the Air & Energy and Wastewater categories. Celebrity also earned points for additional Innovations, including innovative programs to engage crew and guests in Celebrity’s sustainability efforts.
Holland America’s zero discharge of ballast water in Puget Sound and progressive energy efficiency and waste management practices contributed to its high scores. Holland America also earned points for additional Innovations for state-of-the-art propulsion and handling systems that allow their vessels to routinely maneuver without tugboats.
Princess Cruises was recognized as the Most Innovative Partner. Princess’ use of low-sulfur fuels beyond the required levels and zero discharge of ballast water in Puget Sound contributed to its high scores in the Air & Energy and Wastewater categories. The recommended innovations include participation in an emission and control technology research project on three vessels, extensive efforts to minimize waste streams and a process to return expired chemicals and pyrotechnics to the supplying vendors.
Royal Caribbean’s use of low-sulfur fuels beyond the required levels and initiatives to reuse and reduce gray water contributed to its high scores in the Air & Energy and Wastewater categories. Royal Caribbean also earned points for re-use of waste heat from the engines to heat shower water.
"Holland America Line is firmly committed to environmental stewardship, and it's an honor to once again be recognized by the Port of Seattle with a Green Gateway Award," said Orlando Ashford, Holland America's president. "We take great pride in our efforts to reduce our impact on the environment, and we'll continue to focus on ways to responsibly sail the world's oceans while offering exceptional cruise vacations to our guests."
Many cruise itineraries fall largely within emission control areas (ECAs) – including all that visit Alaska – ships must either use fuel limited to 0.10 percent sulfur or technology to achieve equivalent sulfur emission goals. Many of cruise operators have aggressively pursued the installation of stack emission control system technology or converting to cleaner-burning emission LNG.
About a third of the existing fleet now have the new scrubbers, according to Bud Darr, senior vice president at the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). That number includes most ships that call on Alaska.
Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest cruise company, plans to install the systems on more than 70 vessels. Royal Caribbean has completed an agreement with North American authorities for 19 ships they will equip with scrubber systems. Others, including Princess and Holland America Line, also have scrubber installations projects underway and nearing completion. Retrofits can be extremely complex and cumbersome, especially with the largest types of scrubbers.
Click here to watch a short video on these scrubbers in Alaska.
Alaska was also the first cruise destination to partner with cruise lines to allow ships to plug into local shoreside power while docked in communities with sufficient infrastructure. In Juneau, shore power is available at one dock, allowing the vessel moored there to reduce emissions by plugging into the city’s hydroelectric power. This practice, which results in a significant reduction in fuel emissions, has been adopted by cruise ports around the world.
Alaska cruise vessels use onboard opacity-monitoring technology to observe air emissions. Data collected is useful in allowing environmental engineers to continue to improve their air systems.