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Cruise lines move to meet new emissions regulations

February 1, 2015 News No Comments

RINACarnival announced plans to significantly increase installations of its industry-first exhaust gas cleaning technology to more than 70 vessels last year to cover over 70% of its entire fleet. Investing as much as US$400 million to design, build and install the systems being used for the first time in the restricted space found on cruise ships.

The system is called ECO Exhaust Gas Cleaning (ECO-EGC) for its ability to remove major pollutants from the exhaust gases at any operating condition of a ship.

Carnival’s system combines two established technologies that have been successfully used in shore applications like power plants, factories and vehicles to scrub the exhaust from high-sulphur fuel. For the first time this combination is being developed to accommodate restricted spaces on existing ships.

Its plan incorporates a two-pronged system ­ one to reduce particulates from the ship’s engine emissions, and another to use seawater to scrub sulphur compounds from the exhaust gases.

Royal Caribbean also announced in December that it would retrofit 13 of its cruise ships with advanced emissions purification (AEP) systems to meet the new ECA requirements.

These new scrubbers will remove more than 97% of the sulphur dioxide emissions generated by the ships’ diesel engines.

The installation of the scrubbers will take place during scheduled dry-dockings and while ships are in service. While preliminary work has begun on several of the ships receiving AEP systems, most will take place between 2015 and 2017. Each installation will take approximately eight months.

Quantum of the Seas was among the first cruise ships to be built with AEP systems installed during initial construction. Liberty of the Seas has been operating one of its six engines with a retrofitted AEP system for two years.

“AEP technology for maritime vessels is very new, and we expect that by utilising multiple technological solutions to accommodate the differences among our ships, additional development will ultimately help industrialise AEP technology even more, which will benefit not only RCL but also the larger maritime industry,”  Adam Goldstein, President and COO of Royal Caribbean Cruises commented on making the announcement.

To ensure the right systems are available for each ship’s unique requirements, RCL contracted two different AEP technology suppliers, Swedish company Alfa Laval and Finnish company Wärtsilä and additional companies are being hired to execute the installations.

The company faced significant challenges in order to accommodate the AEP systems on its existing ships ­ some pieces of which can be as large as a school bus, an entire system having an operational weight of several hundred tonnes of equipment and liquids.

“A retrofit project of this size and complexity ­ and the scale and intricacy of the research, planning, and design required ­ is unprecedented for our company, and has required a very systematic process and involved the world’s leading expertise in this field,” said Harri Kulovaara, executive vice president, maritime.

Royal Caribbean introduced other energy saving measures when building Quantum of the Seas, including a full-hull air lubrication system that reduces friction between the ship and the water, which can result in up to 7% energy savings depending on ship speed and itinerary; a keycard-operated master switch for lights and air-conditioning in guest staterooms that reduces unnecessary energy usage; and the use of only LED or fluorescent lights.

Fresh water systems
Meyer Werft, Meyer Turku, STX France, and Fincantieri shipyards have all placed orders in recent months with Wärtsilä for the supply of fresh water generators to a total of seven cruise ships. The orders were placed between September and November 2014. Delivery of the Wärtsilä systems is scheduled to commence in May 2015 and will be completed by autumn 2017.

Wärtsilä’s delivery comprises a total of 10 large MSF distillation systems with unit capacities spanning from 115tonnes/day to 900tonnes/day, and four Single Stage Desalination systems (SSD) with unit capacities of 30tonnes/day.

The Wärtsilä Serck Como fresh water generators produce the fresh water needed onboard a cruise ship for deck washing, laundry, cabins, swimming pools, and technical applications that need high quality water. The evaporators employ the multi-stage flash (MSF) principle and use the waste heat from the ship’s main engine in order to evaporate seawater in multiple stages under vacuum. Every consecutive stage has a slightly lower pressure, which leads to high energy efficiency.

The MSF evaporator produces fresh water with a constant high quality and reliability as the process is independent of changing seawater temperatures, and very tolerant to impurities for example algae, in the seawater, the company says. The extremely low salt content remaining in the end product (less than 5ppm) makes it suitable for even the most demanding technical applications.

“Major cruise ship owners are already using Wärtsilä Serck Como evaporators on their vessels and are clearly satisfied with the reliability and quality of the fresh water produced by our solutions. This is evidenced by the fact that more than 130 cruise ships in global operation have our evaporators on board. We are very proud to continue to support these leading cruise companies with systems that feature numerous benefits, including improved energy efficiency, flexible design and easy maintenance,” says Vesa-Pekka Virkki, managing director, Wärtsilä Serck Como.

Methanol system
For those that want to go down the alternative fuel route, cruise ferry Stena Germanica is being converted to a dual-fuel methanol propulsion system at Poland’s Remontowa shipyard.

The 240m, 1,500-passenger ferry, which will be converted over a 45-day period, starting from January, will be the world’s first ever methanol-powered sea vessel. Approval and classification will be by surveying teams from Lloyd’s Register (LR).

Preliminary tests on a methanol-modified Wärtsilä engine 6ZAL40S similar to Germanica’s have already taken place LR said.
According to LR lead specialist, Roberto Costantino: “We carried out three days of tests on a modified engine at Wärtsilä R&D laboratory so as to understand the engine performance when running with methanol. While the test engine is a similar type to the four engines on the vessel, it has fewer cylinders. So the builders are converting the existing ones on the ship.”

The new fuel arrangement on Germanica will combine methanol as its primary fuel with marine gas oil (MGO) as a back-up power source. SOx emissions are expected to be cut by 99%, NOx; by 60%, particulates by 95% and CO2 by 25%.

Stena Line’s CEO Carl-Johan Hagman said: “The emissions from methanol are comparable to LNG, but the requirements for handling and infrastructure are much lower. The construction team are looking at and will use several different exhaust gas treatment technologies.

Carnival unveiled its new hybrid wireless network ­ an enhanced high-speed service to eventually be rolled out to all 101 of its ships on all nine of its brands in November.

Carnival Corporation’s backbone connectivity network, known as [email protected] will integrate a combination of strategically located land-based antennas installed along cruise routes, Wi-Fi from a port connection and advanced satellites, forming an innovative network that is a first in the cruise industry on this scale. The “smart hybrid” network is designed to provide passengers and crew with faster and more stable internet access throughout their voyage ­ a feature becoming increasingly important to travellers of all ages looking to stay connected and share their experiences through social media.

Once completed, the integrated network will seamlessly switch among its various technology solutions to give passengers the highest available bandwidth capacity and strength of signal. The network will be capable of providing Internet connectivity speeds that can be roughly 10 times faster than those previously offered on Carnival Corporation’s ships ­ ultimately expected to provide passengers with the best possible connectivity in the cruise industry.

“This is a major technology breakthrough designed to enhance the cruise experience for our passengers,” said Ramon Millan, senior vice president and global chief information officer for Carnival Corporation. “Our integrated network is also designed to be highly flexible. As technology changes, we can change how our network operates. So it is very possible that one of the technologies we are using today in our network may be replaced by a newer, better technology a few months from now. That flexibility means we can constantly be on the leading edge of updating our integrated network and making sure our passengers have the best possible solution for staying in touch.”

The newly equipped ships will connect to the new wireless network via multiple technologies ­ port Wi-Fi, long-range Wi-Fi and a fleet of advanced satellite systems over multiple frequency bands. The network will seamlessly switch back and forth between connection types based on which option will provide the best user experience at that time. Much like a cell phone changing from one data connection to another while moving across a coverage area, the toggle between networks will be transparent for travellers and managed behind the scenes by a high-tech system.

Meyer Werft
German yard Meyer Werft implemented a new building strategy in Papenburg last year. “The only way to build two large ships per year in building dock II is to divide each new ship in two large floating parts. This new building strategy is also a benefit for Neptun Werft because in the future the yard will be able to deliver complete engine room modules. This ensures a balanced workload in Papenburg and Warnemünde; hence the prioritised strategic goal of securing the economic future of both yards is reached,” the company said.

In the next few years Neptun Werft and Meyer Werft will plan, design and build a total of eight cruise ships and 17 river cruise vessels. These order books as well as the consistent implementation of the corporate strategy offer both yards a good chance to stand their ground in the highly competitive shipbuilding market.

In 2014 Meyer Turku delivered Mein Schiff 3 to TUI Cruises, which will be followed by Mein Schiff 4 in 2015. Another two ships for TUI Cruises will be delivered in 2016 and 2017.  Meyer Werft currently has Anthem of the Seas under construction, which is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2015. Construction work on a second ship, Norwegian Escape, has started as well with the production of two floating parts in the yard’s building dock II. This ship will be delivered to Norwegian Cruise Line in the autumn of 2015. All told, the yard’s order book comprising eight ships will last into 2019.

ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, has signed an extensive service agreement with Royal Caribbean to increase cost efficiency and predictability of maintenance costs. The agreement spans 15 years and encompasses six vessels under RCC’s brands Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean International. The financial value of the service agreement is in excess of US$50 million.

The agreement covers four Solstice and two Oasis class vessels and includes an option to extend the agreement to additional existing vessels, vessels that are currently under construction and future newbuilds. The Solstice and Oasis class vessels all feature ABB’s Azipod propulsion technology.

Under the service agreement, ABB will deliver to RCC vessels a range of services that optimise the life cycle of the vessels: scheduled dry docking services, Azipod propulsion unit modernisations and condition based maintenance services, which contributes to better predictability of maintenance costs.

“Cruise segment customers are increasingly focusing on optimising the life cycle of their fleet and investing in solutions that boost cost efficiency. The service agreement with Royal Caribbean is a token of trust that we understand the needs of our customers and deliver tangible benefits, improving their profitability”, says Heikki Soljama, head of ABB’s Business Unit Marine and Cranes.

The steel cutting for Ovation of the Seas, Royal Caribbean’s third Quantum class ship from Meyer Werft took place last year and the ship is scheduled to be delivered in the autumn of 2016.

The Quantum class ships will have features like robotic bartenders in the Bionic Bar; RipCord by iFLY, the first skydiving experience at sea; the North Star that  transports passengers more than 300 feet above the ocean among other innovations.

The Quantum Class spans 18 decks, encompasses 167,800gt and carries 4,180 passengers at double occupancy with 2,090 cabins.

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