Italian cruise line Costa Cruises said that Costa Smeralda is the first ship in the Costa fleet to be fueled by liquefied natural gas (LNG).
"This is a step change for the cruise industry as a whole, guaranteeing a substantially reduced environmental impact," it said.
"Costa Smeralda is the first ship in the Costa fleet to be powered both in port and at sea by LNG, meaning improved air quality and protecting the environment with the virtual elimination of sulfur dioxide emissions (zero emissions) and particulate matter (95-100% reduction). The use of LNG will also greatly lessen emissions of nitrogen oxides (85% direct reduction) and CO2 (reduction of up to 20%)," it further explained.
Costa Smeralda is part of the Costa Group’s fleet expansion plan, with a total of seven new ships slated for delivery by 2023 and an overall investment worth over €6 billion. Of these new additions, five – including Costa Smeralda and her sister ship Costa Toscana scheduled to enter service in 2021 – will be fueled by LNG.
The Costa Group was the first cruise operator in the world to introduce this ground-breaking innovation in favor of sustainability, which is set to substantially reduce the whole fleet’s environmental impact.
More specifically, the Italian cruise company intends to achieve a 40% reduction in its fleet’s CO2 emissions by 2020, some 10 years ahead of the target laid down by IMO (International Maritime Organization).
On account of her outstanding environmental performance, which goes far beyond current regulatory requirements, Costa Smeralda has been awarded the Green Plus, the highest additional voluntary notation assigned by RINA (international certification body) to ships that are environmentally compliant.
The new flagship, which is over 180,000 gross tonnage and was built in the Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland, will be sailing tomorrow from Savona on her maiden cruise in the Mediterranean. The one-week itinerary includes calls in Marseille, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Civitavecchia and La Spezia.
“With the entry into service of Costa Smeralda, the use of LNG for cruise ships has become more and more a reality, bringing immediate tangible benefits in terms of reduced environmental impact. The Costa Group was the first to believe in this technology and we’re investing in the construction of some five new LNG-fueled ships, thus advancing on the path towards increasingly sustainable tourism,” said Costa Cruises President Neil Palomba.
Palomba added: “Costa Smeralda is an unprecedented project, also because she combines environmental innovation with product innovation, offering holiday experiences the likes of which have never been seen before, albeit while retaining Italian hospitality as the basic distinguishing feature of our brand.”