One of the most challenging issues currently facing cruise shipping companies is air pollution in ports. Cruises through the Mediterranean, Baltic or Caribbean involve port calls in any number of tourist hotspots, and it’s not just in popular stop-offs such as Venice that the locals are getting worked up about air pollution from cruise ships moored close to city centres. SOx, NOx and fine-particle emissions from ships are a growing concern, not just to environmental activists.
One way of significantly reducing emissions is to install LNG-powered engines – and the world’s first LNG-powered cruise liner, the 183,900-ton AIDANOVA, is currently under construction at the Meyer Shipyard in Papenburg in NW Germany. The engine room for this cruise ship was recently completed at the Neptun Shipyard in Rostock on Germany’s Baltic coast. Then on 26 September, this 120-metre long and 42-metre broad section of the ship containing the four LNG-powered Caterpillar MaK engines passed through the Kiel Canal en route to Papenburg. It was a tricky trip. The maximum breadth for ships passing through the Kiel Canal is only 32 metres, but with a special permit and less than 1 metre of leeway on each side, the floating engine room section was safely steered through the Canal by two tugs, the RT PIONEER and BUGSIER 6. With the safe arrival of the engine room in Papenburg another important step was taken towards lowering emissions from cruise shipping. The AIDANOVA is due to go into service in November 2018.