MSC Cruises reports on sustainability efforts during Covid-19

2020 Sustainability Report focuses on steps taken to secure business during global disruption

MSC Cruises reports on sustainability efforts during Covid-19

MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises was the first cruise line to resume sailing in the Mediterranean

By Alex Smith |

MSC Cruises has published its 2020 Sustainability Report, focusing on the steps that the cruise line has taken to improve the sustainability of its business during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“During 2020 we achieved a huge amount, and MSC Cruises rose to the challenges posed by the pandemic,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Cruises. “We got all our guests and crew home safely early on, and we were then the first to launch our industry leading health and safety operating protocol that has redefined cruising and made it one of the safest options for a holiday now, and in the future. And during all this, we did not lose sight of our commitments to be an ethical as well as sustainable company.”

Due to the halt in operations caused by Covid-19, the number of commercially operational days in 2020 fell by 75 per cent compared to the previous year, while the number of passengers was reduced by 78 per cent. MSC Cruises therefore developed a Health & Safety Protocol in partnership with a Blue Ribbon Covid-19 Expert Group, becoming the first cruise line to get approval from national and regional authorities to resume operations in the Mediterranean.

The cruise line also introduced a global communication platform to enable remote working for onshore employees. Online training sessions were provided on the use and application of the platform, with over 700 staff attending.

Prior to the long layups during Covid-19, a 2.5 per cent reduction in emissions intensity was observed by the cruise line compared to the previous year. This improvement would keep MSC Cruises in line with its 2030 target of a 40 per cent reduction of its emissions intensity, a measurement of the amount greenhouse gases emitted per unit of GDP produced.

MSC Grandiosa trialled the implementation of Ecorizon, a process of ship energy optimisation that collects data using onboard automation systems and sensors. This allows for a precise status report to be created on the energy profile of the ship, which is then compared to a digital twin to guide onboard operators and improve operational profiles and voyage management.

MSC Cruises has also continued to collaborate with partners to research and develop new decarbonisation solutions. In 2020, this included participation in the CHEK Consortium, a collaborative effort focused on combining energy technologies and ship design to promote low-carbon maritime operations such as hydrogen propulsion and onboard wate to energy systems. The EU Horizon 2020 fund awarded funding to the consortium towards the end of the year to support its efforts.

“This report recognises the immediate challenges that Covid-19 brought to us, and despite this, our continued focus on our environmental and social obligations and actions, not least the growing demand for decarbonisation,” said Linden Coppell, sustainability director for MSC Cruises. “At present, our industry is almost wholly reliant on fossil fuels. To achieve our zero emissions goal, we will need to switch to new fuels and require the support of governments and regulators to enable this major transition in the cruise industry.”

The MSC Cruises 2020 Sustainability Report can be accessed here.

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