MSC Cruises has become the first major cruise line to be awarded the Green Marine Europe Certification, a voluntary environmental certification programme for the maritime industry.
Green Marine Europe is a partnership between North American environmental certification programme Green Marine and the Surfrider Foundation, a European Union (EU) NGO in ocean and maritime protection.
MSC Cruises achieved the highest possible score across eight performance indicators that the organisers said represented ‘environmental excellence and leadership’.
The indicators measured were aquatic invasive species, pollutant air emissions – both sulphur dioxide and particulate matter – nitrogen dioxide pollutant air emissions, greenhouse gas emissions, oil discharge, waste management, underwater radiated noise and responsible ship recycling.
Capt Minas Myrtidis, MSC Cruises’ VP Environmental Operations and Compliance collected the award on behalf of the line at a ceremony held in Bilbao, Spain.
Capt Myrtidis said: “We are immensely proud to be awarded the highest possible rating across all of the criteria. The Green Marine Europe certificate is testament to the hard work and commitment of everyone throughout our business, both on board and ashore, who have dedicated their collective efforts to help MSC Cruises towards achieving its sustainability goals. Our certification underscores our strong performance credentials as well as our commitment to performance improvement, transparency and accountability.”
MSC Cruises, plus its sister company and luxury brand Explora Journeys, has committed to measure environmental performance annually and submit the results to Green Marine Europe for its external accredited verification. Both lines have set targets to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
The emissions intensity of MSC Cruises’ ship operations has decreased by 33.5% since 2008 and the company said it was confident of achieving a 40% reduction by 2030.
In June of this year, the flagship ’MSC Euribia’ achieved the world’s first net zero greenhouse gas emissions cruise ship voyage from France to Denmark on a mass balance basis.
French-based ferry company, Brittany Ferries was also awarded Green Marine Certified Shipowner accreditation for the fourth year in a row.
This award was presented at a ceremony in Bilbao, one of the ports served by the company and the location of a new LNG bunkering terminal.
Opened in July, 2022, the facility is now fuelling Brittany Ferries’ latest LNG-powered ropaxes.
Brittany Ferries was one of the founding signatories of the Green Marine programme. It originally chose Green Marine because of its rigour, independence and demand for continuous improvement, the company said.
For Brittany Ferries, fleet renewal was the key to progress. It is currently in the middle of the largest investment in ship replacement in its 50-year history, as between 2019 and 2025, five new vessels will have joined the fleet, replacing older and less environmentally-friendly vessels.
Four of the new vessels will be powered by cleaner LNG and two will be LNG-electric hybrids (arriving in spring 2025). Both hybrids will be shore-power ready, meaning zero emissions when they are able to plug-in at a berth. They willl also be equipped with 11 MWh of battery power, allowing operations with zero emissions when alongside and during manoeuvres in port.
“We are delighted that investment in fleet renewal is delivering progress on many Green Marine criteria for Brittany Ferries and will continue to do so in the years ahead,” said Brittany Ferries head of Sustainability, Vincent Coquen, who was also the driving force behind the company’s commitment to the Green Marine programme. “For example, this year we’ve been able to demonstrate a fleet-wide reduction in harmful nitrogen dioxide NOx emissions, achieving the highest level 5 for this criterion.”
Improvement on NOx is a direct result of the ‘Salamanca’ and ’Santoña’ entering service. These ships connect Spain with the UK and their cleaner-burning fuel also leads to a significant reduction in other air quality emissions, such as SOx, and particulates (soot).
“This year’s awards are particularly relevant to Brittany Ferries and the port of Bilbao,” Coquen added. “Investing in cleaner ships is one thing. But you need investment in infrastructure to be able to re-fuel them. The port of Bilbao has embraced that challenge, facilitating the construction of a fantastic LNG facility by energy provider Repsol with the support of European Union funding, and the benefits are being felt as a consequence. It’s a great partnership for a great city and region.”