The Cruise Lines International Association with the Australian Cruise Association and New Zealand Cruise Association has revealed a new sustainability guide that showcases some of the environmental initiatives the industry is taking to improving the its impact on the environment.

While cruise lines only take up less than one per cent of the global shipping fleet, the cruise industry has worked on five key initiatives

CLIA Australasia MD, Joel Katz said “We are proud of our industry’s strong track record on environmental sustainability. Each day across our industry, individual cruise lines are working to improve upon this record through strategic partnerships with leading national and international organisations, investment in new technologies, and complying with, and in many cases, exceeding international standards through a range of important initiatives.”

The initiatives fall broadly into five categories:

Cleaner Fuel and Reduced Emissions

The industry has invested heavily in new technologies and cleaner fuels to reduce emissions, with each new generation of ships which are eco-friendlier than the previous.

CLIA has worked with the International Marine Organisation (IMO) toward a 30 percent reduction in new marine vessel CO2 emissions by 2025.

The cruise industry is taking a leading role in preparing for the IMO’s 2020 global sulphur cap. Critical environmental technologies such as Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (EGCS) which significantly reduce the level of sulphur oxides in a ship’s exhaust will form a key component of this strategy.  Currently the industry has installed, or is planning to retrofit, EGCS on nearly half of the current CLIA cruise lines’ fleet and will introduce the system to at least 18 new build vessels.

With 109 ships on order between 2018 and 2027, several of the largest cruise lines have orders for LNG-fuelled ships – the first entered service in Europe a few months ago. 87 alternative fuel ships are also in the pipeline for this period.

Cruise lines also implement Ship Energy Management Plans including route planning and low-friction hull coatings to reduce fuel consumption and thereby emissions.

Recycle, Reduce and Reuse

Cruise ships recycle or reuse almost 100 percent of waste generated on board through recycling, donating and converting waste into energy.  The industry recycles more than 80,000 tons of plastic, aluminium and glass every year.  Cruise lines are also striving to reduce the amount of plastic brought onboard through smart sourcing and minimising single-use products such as straws, water bottles and unnecessary packaging materials.

Condensation from air-conditioning units is often reclaimed and reused saving more than 80M litres of water every year.

Waste Management Practices: Cruise Lines have established comprehensive procedures in their waste management plans that include the safe and hygienic collection, separation and processing of wastes onboard including garbage, grey water, sewage, oily residues, sludge oil and bilge water.

CLIA’s wastewater discharge policy far exceeds the legal requirements and existing regulations.

Destination Sustainability

CLIA, ACA and NZCA are working closely with the cruise lines to support their port infrastructure needs.

Managing the growth in visitor numbers is high on the agenda for cruise lines and destinations.  Consultation and education are being provided as to how best to ensure the visitor experience is maintained while continuing to provide much needed economic income for the destinations.

The cruise industry is a leader in visitor dispersal with regional destinations now providing exciting itinerary additions to attract passengers to new ports on their Australian and New Zealand itineraries. Cruise lines are working with shore excursion operators and the destinations to get the balance right between popular tours and spacing out delivery, broadening the choices that passengers have in port to spread out the impact of cruise tourism.

Working Together

The cruise industry is working closely together across this region to help drive these sustainability initiatives.  Together, they are also collaborating with a larger global community including government bodies and independent organisations such as the World Ocean Council and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to explore best practice.

Jill Abel, CEO of the Australian Cruise Association said, “ACA is committed to working with the cruise lines, the ports and the destinations recognising the crucial role of connectivity between all parties to develop viable short- and long-term solutions for a sustainable and exciting future for our industry.”

Kevin O’ Sullivan, Chief Executive, NZCA supports that view “The cruise industry has become an important part of our tourism economy in New Zealand.  NZCA is pleased to be able to work with ACA and CLIA on this guide for our region as it provides a succinct overview of the considerable work that the cruise industry does to preserve our environment locally and internationally.”

The report is available for download here:

CLIA Australasia