Cruise & Ferry Review - Spring/Summer 2022

V IEWPOINT Answering the call for sustainability Water treatment specialist RWO shares how technologies and regulations are helping cruise lines meet demand for green travel Ensuring that customers can sail safely and confidently is a top priority for cruise operators in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Many are also increasing investments in green technologies to meet growing customer demand for sustainability too. A survey published by global travel agency network Virtuoso in April 2021 found that 82 per cent of respondents wanted to travel more responsibly in the future, with 70 per cent agreeing that sustainable travel enhanced the experience. Half of respondents ranked a strong sustainability policy as “very important” when choosing a hotel, cruise line or travel company. Ship emissions represent a central consideration for cruise lines, where responding to informed consumer choice is increasingly a driver for sustainability strategies, alongside compliance and reputation. Today, guests wish to play an active role in environmental protection, whether through responsible towel laundering, recycling or investing in reusable water bottles. Sewage, however, is one environmental factor that falls outside the purview of personal choice because protecting oceans from the impact of cruise ships is best left to regulators. After all, it is estimated that the average cruise ship with 3,000 people onboard will generate around 30,000 gallons of sewage a day (excluding grey water). That is over 200,000 gallons on a week-long cruise. Also referred to as black water, sewage contains a myriad of hazardous pathogens, bacteria, viruses and chemical nutrients that are harmful to human and marine life. Hence, the International Maritime Organization (IMO)MARPOL Annex IV regulation prohibits sewage from being discharged into the sea unless the ship has an approved sewage treatment plant in operation, or the sewage has been broken down and disinfected using an approved system at a distance of more than three nautical miles from the coast. By Lars Nupnau, RWO Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Silhouette is one of the first ships to be fitted with RWO’s new-generation advanced water treatment systems 1 3 8