NCLH completes scrubber retrofits on 13 cruise ships

Cruise company Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) has completed its nearly $200 million, multi-year investment in exhaust gas cleaning systems (EGCS) on certain ships across its fleet with the commissioning of EGCS onboard Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway.

Image Courtesy: NCLH

As informed, NCLH has completed EGCS installations on 13 Norwegian Cruise Line ships which represent approximately 70% of operational capacity.

The new systems are aimed at improving the ships’ environmental footprint by significantly reducing emissions, including sulfur oxides and particulate matter, and improving air quality.

Investments in technology such as EGCS are said to be an integral part of the company’s long-term climate action strategy. Earlier this year, the company also partnered up with Miami-Dade County to make the new Cruise Terminal B and homeporting ships shore-power ready by fall 2023.

“We are pleased to announce that our ambitious multi-year investment to install exhaust gas cleaning systems on our ships has concluded with the successful completion of EGCS retrofits on the Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway,” Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd, commented.

“We took the opportunity during the COVID-19 pandemic related voyage suspension to accelerate installations on existing ships and complete this project nearly two years ahead of schedule. Approximately 70% of our operational capacity, or 13 ships, are now equipped with this innovative environmental technology and all but one ship is equipped with a hybrid system which can operate in closed or open loop.”

“The EGCS project is just one of many examples of our ongoing commitment to protect and preserve the environment through our global sustainability program, Sail & Sustain, and we will continue to invest in this critical mission.”

“Protecting the environment is vital to our business and we continually seek and invest in new, cutting-edge technologies and innovations, like exhaust gas cleaning systems, to reduce our environmental impact,” Giovanni Canu, vice president special projects and operational support of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd, said.

EGCS, commonly referred to as scrubbers, work by “scrubbing away” sulfur oxides (“SOx”) and particulate matter before the emissions leave the stack to decrease the amount that is released into the air, resulting in a clean white plume of steam.

Ships equipped with this technology can reduce SOx emissions by up to 98%. 92% of systems installed on the company’s ships can operate in open or closed loop, which is known as a hybrid system. This allows the ships to operate the systems within compliance in expanded areas of the world. Ships with EGCS technology can use heavy fuel oil (HFO) instead of low-sulfur marine gas oil (MGO) as their primary fuel source.

According to the International Maritime Organization’s Third IMO Greenhouse Gas Study, the CO2 emissions factor for HFO is less than for MGO on average which should result in lower relative CO2 emissions as the company increases its mix of HFO consumption. NCLH expects its normalized fuel consumption mix will now be approximately 50% HFO and 50% MGO in 2022.

NCLH, which operates the Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands, has a combined fleet of 28 vessels. The company has nine additional ships scheduled for delivery through 2027.