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Air Emissions

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We take our responsibility as caretakers of the waters in which we operate very seriously. Clean air and pristine waters are a fundamental part of the cruise experience for passengers and we have every incentive to preserve them.

To that end, cruise lines work continuously to advance the use of technologies, and enhance operations and processes to minimize the impact on the waters and coasts where they operate – often going well beyond the regulatory requirements. These extensive investments include new technology such as exhaust gas scrubbers and monitoring devices, and the utilization of shore power, rounded hulls, special coatings and variable ship speeds to reduce air emissions.

Due to our focus and comprehensive approach, CLIA member cruise lines must meet or outperform all applicable international and federal air emissions requirements wherever their ships operate.

For More on Air Quality Regulations, (Click Here)

Leaders in Environmental Stewardship for Air Quality

CLIA members approach every aspect of their business with an eye toward environmental stewardship.

The cruise industry is committed to preserving and protecting the environment and every year makes substantial investments to meet that commitment. Our industry is working directly with manufacturers to continually improve engine and generator design and to test advanced exhaust gas scrubbers as a means to remove and minimize undesirable components from exhaust. We have also utilized measures such as rounded hulls, special coatings and variable ship speeds to reduce air emissions. Other energy and emissions reduction measures include switching to low energy LED lights, using recycled hot water to heat passenger cabins, and using special window tinting to keep passageways cooler while using less air conditioning.

The cruise industry partners with NGOs, universities, regulators and scientists around the globe to ensure that ships apply the best practices and technologies to their emissions control efforts. Cruise lines also employ world-class engineers and environmental experts in key leadership roles to ensure compliance with existing requirements. Working with the best staff allows cruise lines to implement new initiatives on an ongoing basis that will enable us to further reduce our environmental footprint in the future.

Cruise lines are investing in exhaust gas scrubber technology to reduce air emissions in and around port communities. Cruise lines can also reduce some emissions by utilizing shore-side electrical power while in port. Where available at a reasonable cost near a cruise dock, shore power can be a viable alternative for cruise lines in some circumstances. Unlike exhaust gas scrubber technology, which works at sea or while in port, the use of shore power is limited to when a ship is at a dock while in a port. Cruise lines are also considering the technical and practical aspects of using of alternative fuels, such as liquefied natural gas (LNG), as a way to reduce emissions.

The cruise industry collaborates with regulatory agencies, lawmakers, port communities and environmental stakeholders to examine best practices. Furthermore, we are committed to publicly communicating our efforts to reduce the cruise industry’s impact on air quality in order to foster transparency.

Air Quality Regulations

CLIA members must comply with strict environmental laws at several levels. Clear mandates regulate emissions at the international, federal, state and, frequently, individual port level.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) creates global requirements on air emissions, including sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides. For example, the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL Annex VI), prescribes strict standards to minimize and prevent ship-generated pollution. All ships that are regulated under that Convention, including cruise ships, are issued an International Air Pollution Prevention Certificate. Every cruise line must also adhere to the IMO’s International Safety Management Code, which requires documentation of environmental practices and encourages continuous improvement. A number of our member lines have also been independently certified under ISO 14001, a rigorous international standard for environmental management systems. This voluntary program requires cruise lines to continually identify ways to improve their ships’ environmental performance.

It is important to note that all ships visiting ports in the U.S., regardless of where they are flagged, must comply with all applicable federal regulations. In the United States, the U.S. Coast Guard is charged with ensuring that cruise ships coming into port meet all international conventions and domestic requirements for environmental sustainability.

The North American Emission Control Area (ECA) generally requires ships operating within 200 nautical miles of the mainland of U.S. and Canada to use fuel containing no more than 1% sulfur or comply via an equivalent method. The fundamental goal of the ECA is to reduce the human health and welfare impact of shipping on coastal areas — and every single CLIA member ship operating within the ECA must comply with all of its associated requirements. CLIA member lines are developing and deploying new abatement technologies such as exhaust gas scrubbers working with the U.S. and Canadian governments that provide innovative and effective approaches to compliance with the ECA regulations.

CLIA’s oceangoing cruise line members have senior-level staff responsible for environmental programs, which include among many other things, compliance with all environmental regulations. These senior staff members are also responsible for the training, oversight, and implementation of other corporate environmental policies and practices on board.