MSC Cruise Division pledges to achieve zero GHG emissions by 2050

Company also joins Getting to Zero Coalition to help accelerate the decarbonisation of the shipping sector
MSC Cruise Division pledges to achieve zero GHG emissions by 2050

MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises' first LNG-powered cruise ship World Europa will debut in December 2022

By Rebecca Gibson |

MSC Group’s MSC Cruises and Explora Journeys brands have pledged to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050, surpassing the International Maritime Organization’s ambition to reduce emissions from shipping by 50 per cent by 2050 compared to 2008.

The MSC Cruise Division has also joined the ‘Getting to Zero Coalition’ to help accelerate the decarbonisation of the overall shipping sector. The coalition is an alliance between the Global Maritime Forum, the Friends of Ocean Action and the World Economic Forum, which also involves more than 150 companies in the maritime, energy, infrastructure and finance sectors.

All participants have signed a Call to Action agreement, which outlines three key targets including: driving joint action by the public and private sectors, deploying commercially viable zero-emissions vessels by 2030, and reaching zero-emission shipping by 2050. The Call to Action will be delivered to world governments in advance of COP26, the United Nations’ climate change conference, which will take place in Glasgow, Scotland from 1-12 November 2021.

“As a family business with over 300 years of maritime heritage, we have always felt a deep responsibility towards our marine environment and our planet,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of the cruise division of MSC Group. “Today we are taking our commitment one step further by embracing a net-zero emissions future within the next three decades. We will achieve this by investing in and otherwise supporting the accelerated development and implementation of innovative, cutting-edge technologies to be deployed across our fleet, continuously raising the bar of environmental performance and leading our industry forward.”

MSC Group has been focused on reducing GHG emissions over the past few years, introducing green technologies and various operational improvement measures across its fleet to improve energy efficient by two to four per cent annually. By 2019, the company had achieved a 28 per cent improvement in energy efficiency compared to 2008. Since then, the MSC Cruise Division has started a series of research projects to help it achieve its 2050 decarbonisation goal and potentially develop zero-emissions ships.

The MSC Cruise Division has joined the CHEK Consortium alongside the University of Vaasa in Finland, World Maritime University, Wärtsilä, Cargill, Lloyd’s Register and other partners to explore how to achieve low-carbon shipping by combining progressive energy technologies and innovative ship design.

Another project is taking place in partnership with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri and energy infrastructure company Snam, with the organisations aiming to develop the world’s first ocean-going cruise ship powered by hybrid hydrogen and LNG to allow for zero-emissions operations in certain areas.

MSC Cruises is also working with French shipbuilder Chantiers de l’Atlantique on Blue Horizon, a research and development project exploring how to integrate solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology on its three upcoming LNG-powered cruise ships. In addition, MSC Cruises has joined a consortium with GE Power Conversion, Lloyd’s Register and Ceres Power Holdings to explore how to address the barriers to adoption of SOFCs in large ship applications.

“Collaboration between operators, shipyards, technology manufacturers, academic institutions, public authorities and governments will be essential,” said Vago. “There are already encouraging signs of such partnerships enabling progress, but more can and must be done. I call on all parties to work relentlessly towards this end and bring about the next great energy transition in our industry.”

To learn more about how MSC Cruise Division is working to improve its sustainability efforts, read our interview with with MSC Cruises' director of sustainability Linden Coppell, which was published in the Autumn/Winter 2020 issue of Cruise & Ferry Review

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