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  • MSC Cruises and Explora Journeys commit to measure environmental performance annually, submit results to an external accredited verification party and publish them
  • All vessels in the Division to be measured across eight key performance indicators: aquatic invasive species, pollutant air emissions (SOx and PM), pollutant air emissions (NOx), greenhouse gas emissions, oily discharge, waste management, underwater noise, and responsible ship recycling

Geneva, Switzerland – 14 February 2022: MSC Group’s Cruise Division announced today its commitment to join the Green Marine Europe Label, becoming the first major global cruise company to do so. This is a voluntary environmental certification programme for the maritime industry. Following the success of Green Marine’s North American environmental certification programme, the European initiative was launched in 2020 to create a mechanism that supports shipowners in demonstrating their environmental performance on a European scale. This will support the MSC Group’s Cruise Division’s pledge to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

To ensure success, the Division’s two brand, MSC Cruises and its newly launched luxury offering Explora Journeys, are committing to measuring their environmental performance as per the programme’s guidelines annually, tracking progress across eight key performance indicators: aquatic invasive species, pollutant air emissions (SOx and PM), pollutant air emissions (NOx), greenhouse gas emissions, oily discharge, waste management, underwater noise, and responsible ship recycling.

In recent years, MSC has made considerable advances across all areas of its cruise operations thanks to the deployment of some of state-of-the art environmental technologies, fuels and solutions. These include advanced emissions control systems, ballast water treatment systems, and advanced wastewater treatment systems, to name a few. The first two vessels of Explora Journeys, which are currently under construction, will feature these and other environmental solutions.

The two brands have equally committed to submitting their annual environmental performance results to an external accredited verification party, and to publishing them.

Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of the Cruise Division of MSC Group, said: “Even while we tackled the many challenges of the past two years, we never lost sight of our responsibilities in the long term. In line with our commitment to sustainability and our pledge to reach net zero emissions by 2050, the Green Marine Europe Label will help us demonstrate our progress and share this with our guests, the communities that we serve and all other stakeholders. All of this, while we continue our work on several projects studying the development of green fuels and technology solutions and we look forward to bringing them to life soonest.”

The Green Marine Europe Label is the result of a partnerships of The North American environmental certification programme Green Marine, which has been operational for ten years, and the Surfrider Foundation, a leading NGO in ocean and maritime protection in the European Union. The partnership was established in 2019, and the programme was launched in the spring of 2020.

Minas Myrtidis, MSC Cruise Management’s Vice President Environmental Operations and Compliance said:’Certification to the Green Marine Europe Label across our entire fleet will further demonstrate our commitment to environmental sustainability as it also reflects our desire to continually improve our performance in that space.’’


About the MSC Group’s Cruise Division’s commitment to net zero emissions

As a family-owned group with three centuries of maritime heritage, the MSC Group’s Cruise Division is committed to protecting our planet and ocean ecosystems for future generations. In 2021 we took an important step forward and reinforced our industry leadership in this field by pledging to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 for our marine operations. A daunting task lies ahead, as the fuels and technologies that will enable this change either do not exist at scale or have not reached the level of maturity required for their commercial deployment. This is why we have embarked in several projects to study and accelerate the development of new fuels and technologies that can take us closer to that goal. These include:

  • Hydrogen-powered vessels: In 2021 we entered into a partnership with leading shipbuilder Fincantieri and energy infrastructure company Snam to jointly determine the conditions for the design and construction of what could become the world’s first oceangoing hybrid hydrogen/LNG-powered cruise ship, which would allow for zero-greenhouse gas emissions operations in certain areas. These include arranging ship spaces to accommodate the necessary hydrogen technologies and fuel cells, identifying the technical parameters of onboard systems, calculating the potential greenhouse gas emissions savings, and technical and economic analysis of hydrogen supply and shore-based infrastructure.
  • Fuel cells on LNG-powered vessels: Fuel cells offer great potential to achieve meaningful reductions. Having ordered three ships that will run on fuel-sourced LNG, a transitional fuel that offers up to 21% less greenhouse gas emissions, MSC Cruises is studying the integration of fuel cells to achieve further reductions. As part of this we have Blue Horizon, a ground-breaking R&D project that focuses on the integration of a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) technology on LNG-powered cruise ships.
  • Retrofitting fuel cell technology: We have joined a consortium with GE Power Conversion, Lloyd’s Register, and Ceres Power Holdings to explore how to address the barriers to the adoption of fuel cells in large ship applications. It will examine how SOFCs can be integrated into a ship’s operational functionality including the existing power and propulsion architecture and layout, allowing the impact of using SOFC technology to be quantified in terms of overall emissions reduction. The project has been awarded funding as part of the UK Department for Transport’s Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition.
  • Low carbon technologies and ship design: The MSC Cruise Division is also partnering with industry leaders and academia in a research project that promotes low-carbon shipping by combining progressive energy technologies and innovative ship design. Led by the University of Vaasa, the CHEK Consortium – deCarbonising sHipping by enabling Key Technology symbiosis on real vessels concept designs project – involves the World Maritime University, Wärtsilä, Cargill, and Lloyds Register, among others.

More details on environmental technologies on board our newbuild vessels

Air Emissions: Hybrid exhaust gas cleaning systems that achieve a 98% reduction of sulphur oxide (SOx) emissions. Many of our ships are also equipped with cutting-edge selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems that reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 90%.

Shore-to-ship power connectivity, allowing them to connect to local power grids while at ports where this infrastructure is available. This allows to minimise engine use at berth, leading to a substantial emissions reduction when the ships are close to urban areas.

Wastewater: Our new ships feature advanced wastewater treatment systems designed in line with the International Maritime Organization’s MEPC 227(64) Resolution, with purification standards that are higher than most wastewater treatment facilities ashore. Ballast water treatment systems will prevent the introduction of invasive species in the marine environment through ballast water discharges.

Protecting Marine Life: Our new ships are equipped with underwater radiated noise management systems, with hull and engine room designs that minimise acoustic sound impact, reducing their potential effects on marine fauna, most particularly on marine mammals in the surrounding waters.

Energy Efficiency: All MSC Cruises’ newbuilds incorporate a wide range of energy efficient equipment that help reduce and optimise engine use. These include smart ventilation and advanced air conditioning systems with automated energy recovery loops that redistribute heat and cold to reduce demand. The ships use LED lighting controlled by smart management systems to enhance further the energy saving profile. In partnership with the shipyards, all new builds are fitted with remote energy monitoring and analysis systems, allowing real-time shoreside support to optimise operational efficiency onboard.

The next generation of LNG-Powered vessels

MSC World Europa and MSC Euribia will become the first LNG-powered vessels to join the MSC Cruises fleet in 2022 and 2023 respectively representing an investment of €3 billion in Liquified Natutal Gas (LNG) ships with the construction on World Europa II due to commence in early 2023.

These ships play an important role in the Company’s commitment to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. LNG is by far the cleanest marine fuel currently available at scale and it virtually eliminates local air pollutant emissions like sulphur oxides (99%), nitrogen oxides (85%) and particles (98%). In terms of emissions with a global impact, LNG plays a key role in climate change mitigation and the engines of these two ships have the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 25% compared to standard fuels. In addition, with the subsequent availability of Bio and Synthetic forms of LNG, this energy source will provide a pathway toward eventual decarbonized operations.