Five times larger than the legendary one Titanic And taller than the Eiffel Tower The icon seas is the largest new cruise ship in the world, and is currently sailing in the waters of the Northwest Atlantic Ocean, on its maiden voyage through the Caribbean islands, which began in the city of Miami, North America, last Saturday, January 27. Although this “floating city” is powered by a more environmentally friendly energy source in terms of carbon dioxide emissions, some environmentalists condemn the release of this “floating city”. Methane It may be more harmful. “It's a step in the wrong direction.”
Built at the shipyards of the Finnish company Mayer TurkuRoyal Caribbean's new record-breaking ship features six low-pressure dual-fuel engines that can be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), a more environmentally friendly energy source than traditional marine fuels used in larger ships.
Regarding emissions carbon To the atmosphere, according to the North American shipping company, its new cruise has proven just that 24% more effective than required value By the global shipping regulator, the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
However, the release of gaseous methane into the atmosphere, a phenomenon known as “methane slip” (Methane slip(in English), as a result of the process of converting liquefied natural gas into energy, raises the concern of many environmental organizations, which denounce this process. Environmental impact The negative impact of this fuel is that it is increasingly used in large ships.
“It's a step in the wrong direction,” believes Brian Comer, director International Council on Clean Transport (ICCT). “Our estimates indicate that the use of LNG as marine fuel results in the emission of more than 120% of carbon dioxide emissions. Global Warming Throughout the life cycle of marine diesel““, explains the director Think tank On environmental policy for Reuters News Agency. When compared to carbon dioxide, methane proves to be more harmful to the environment, retaining 80 times more heat than carbon dioxide for 20 years after being released into the atmosphere.
Cruise ship engines have an average methane slippage of about 6.4%, according to research funded by ICCT with other partners, a higher average compared to the IMO's assumed value of 3.5%.
To the British newspaper Watchman The ICCT director claims the use of LNG represents an investment in “false climate solutions” by the cruise industry. “They consider LNG a greener fuel when the engine emits 70% to 80% more emissions than LNG.” Greenhouse gases per flight compared to using regular marine fuel,” says Brian Comer. “Oh Sea icon It has the largest LNG tanks ever installed on a ship. And Greenwashing“, he concludes.
According to the ICCT report, the use of LNG as a marine fuel is increasing rapidly, doubling from 2.2 million tons in 2018 to 4.4 million tons in 2022, data that only includes ships that transmit data to the European Union (EU) Monitoring, Reporting and Verification System. .
The report cites the fourth study conducted by the International Maritime Organization on greenhouse gas emissions. Through laboratory analyses, data provided by engine manufacturers and onboard measurements, the study concluded that “global LNG marine fuel consumption grew by 30% between 2012 and 2018, leading to an estimated 150% increase in methane emissions.” Scientific publishing.
according to International Association of Cruise LinesAbout 34 of the 54 ships ordered between January 2024 and December 2028 will be powered by LNG. Currently, of the 300 cruise ships in navigation, about 18 are powered by this fuel, he says Watchman.
In 2023 Portugal once again became the sixth European country with the most emissions from cruise ships The study by Environment Zero concluded that sulfur oxides, which are polluting chemical compounds, placed Lisbon in fifth place and Funchal in tenth place in the ranking of European countries polluting cruise ships. In the same year, cruise activity in the Portuguese capital recorded its best year ever, exceeding 700,000 passengers for the first time.
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