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 push the edge on technology, operations and processes to minimize the impact on the waters and coasts where we operate – often going well beyond the regulatory requirements. These extensive investments include new technology such as emissions scrubbers and monitoring devices, and the utilization of shore power, rounded hulls, special coatings and variable ship speeds to reduce fuel 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 our ships operate.
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Leaders in Environmental Stewardship for Air Quality
We approach every aspect of our business with an eye toward environmental stewardship.
We are committed to preserving and protecting the environment and every year we make substantial investments to meet that commitment. Our industry is working directly with manufacturers to continually improve engine and generator design and to test advanced gas scrubbers as a means to remove emissions from exhaust. We have also adopted rounded hulls, special coatings and variable ship speeds to reduce fuel emissions. Other energy reduction programs 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. We also employ world-class engineers and environmental experts in key leadership roles to ensure compliance with existing requirements. Working with the best staff allows us to implement new initiatives on an ongoing basis will enable us to further reduce our environmental footprint in the future.
Cruise lines are working with ports and local governments to reduce waste and emissions by implementing shore-side electrical power to eliminate engine emissions while in port. Currently, this infrastructure is available at approximately a dozen berths in North America and we strongly support extending it to other ports.
We collaborate 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.
CLIA members are in compliance 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) enforces policies on air emissions, including sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide. In addition, the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL Annex VI), sets strict standards for all commercial vessels to prevent ship-generated pollution, and cruise ships in operation 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 Environmental Control Area (ECA) requires ocean-going vessels operating within 200 nautical miles of the mainland U.S. and Canada (except the Aleutian Islands) 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’s oceangoing cruise lines 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.
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