Following eight years of close collaboration, Norwegian Cruise Line Holding (NCLH) and Yara Marine Technologies have undertaken scrubber installations on board eight cruise ships.
The installation programme kicked off in 2012, with the first scrubber being fitted on the ’Pride of America’, which was completed in early 2014.
Exhaust gas cleaning was still uncharted territory for most cruise operators in 2012, and scrubber installation on ships in service was a ground breaking concept, explained Peter Strandberg (pictured), Yara Marine Technologies CTO.
“NCL was proactive early on exhaust gas cleaning systems. They took a gamble on scrubbers, and they needed to trust that we could deliver,” said Strandberg. “It’s complicated to install scrubbers on ships in service, but NCL trusted Yara Marine to get the job done.”
Giovanni Canu, NCLH’s Vice President Special Projects and Operational Support, began to oversee scrubber projects as the first installation was nearing completion. “I was told it was an extremely challenging project, and they were right,” he recalled.
In-line scrubbers were still new and the level of access required in the vessel’s structure made it difficult to plan for all eventualities: “A lot of adjustments were required along the way, and here our Chief Project Engineer, John Abbott, provided invaluable experience and knowledge to the project,” Canu said.
After the ’Pride of America’ came four sister ships in the ‘Jewel’ class. Once installation on the first of these ships was completed, Canu reported that the rest were managed with only minor adjustments.
Strandberg said that the cruise industry had been at the centre of the emissions debate for the last decade. “The intention with switching to low sulphur fuel was to reduce emissions to air, but the industry did not have all the information back then. Now we have studies showing that ships using HFO with scrubbers pollute even less than those burning marine diesel.”
Canu stressed the importance of environmental responsibility in the company’s business model. “We understand that protecting the environment is vital to our business. Preserving our oceans is one of NCL’s core company values. Installing exhaust gas cleaning systems was seen as part of our commitment to reducing our environmental impact.”
He also confirmed that NCL’s approach was different than most, especially with the bigger cruise companies. “In fact our project team was only three people. Direct lines of communication helped make decision-making more efficient. We were able to move forward and learn by doing rather than getting bogged down in lengthy discussions.”
His take-away from the co-operation with Yara Marine was also positive: “They were very open to modifications of the systems when we thought it was necessary. This allowed us to make some changes to make the systems perform even better. We are still working with them to upgrade and make changes, and we still value our co-operation highly.”