London - Although cruise companies are helping to fight climate change, talk of eco-friendly ships appearing within the next five years is probably premature. James Cole, Managing Director at cruise retailer Cruise118.com, believes that cruise lines are helping to set a strong example by investing heavily in eco-friendly measures for their vessels, however it will take time before completely emission-free ships are the norm. Mr Cole commented shortly after designs for the world’s “greenest” cruise ship were unveiled at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris. The designs for the vessel were created by Peace Boat, an NGO based in Japan which has been running educational voyages for peace and sustainability since 1983.
The ‘Ecoship Project’ will be a 55,000-ton cruise ship that is packed full of impressive eco-friendly technology and features. Aside from the hybrid engine, the vessel will also boast ten retractable solar-panelled sails and retractable wind generators. The design was developed by a team of over 30 engineers and scientists from a variety of sectors including ship-building, renewable energy, architecture, biophilia and waste management. The aim is to develop and build a vessel that will be a flagship for green technology in passenger shipping, serving as a model for cruise operators worldwide. Cole believes the demand for eco-friendly cruises is more international than in the UK market at present but it’s something that seems to be growing and ships are taking it more seriously, which means there will be increased efforts to make ships more eco-friendly in future. While the number of travellers looking for “green cruises” is steadily increasing in the UK, international markets appear to be the driving force behind this trend at the moment. Although presentation of the project generated plenty of excited debate, talk of such vessels arriving swiftly in the shipping market is probably premature. “By 2020 there will undoubtedly be more eco technology and focus within cruising but a fully eco ship is unrealistic” said Mr Cole.
“Climate change is one of the most important issues facing the planet right now, and like other industries across the globe, cruise lines are doing their bit by investing in new technologies to make their ships as eco-friendly as possible. The ships aren’t just becoming more innovative for passengers but for the environment as well, from new fuel technologies to solar panelling and increased efforts with recycling.” However, Yoshioka Tatsuya, Founder and Director of Peace Boat, argues that the shipping industry must adapt to the planet’s needs. “We are delighted to see wind propulsion being used on this innovative cruise ship design” said Mr Tatsuya at the launch. Gavin Allwright, Secretary of the International Windship Association (IWSA), added that the Ecoship will be a front runner in the design of lower impact cruise vessels and that IWSA will be working with the industry segment to help bring more wind propulsion solutions into the mix. IWSA has recently welcomed Peace Boat onboard as one of its newest members, and the two organisations will be working together over the coming years, helping to spread the message of low carbon, sustainable shipping worldwide.
Source: RE Magazine