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  • Writer's pictureStephan Busch

Cruises and the environment - still a disaster!

Advertisements with blue water, white beaches and green palm trees can be found in every cruise brochure. However, what does it really look like after all these years and environmental scandals? NABU - the nature conservation association has surveyed cruise companies to create a rating. That alone is highly questionable, since a voluntary survey of companies can never replace an honest, independent investigation. If the only criterion for clarifying an offense would be to only question the person who was caught doing it, one can also imagine the result.

Sea cruises and river cruises have to be seen separately here. The country rules apply on the rivers and can also be easily checked. Unfortunately, shore power is rarely offered but must be used. This is not mandatory for ocean-going ships. Control is hard on the high seas, and breaking the rules and laws is easy, profitable and almost never punished.

Here the NABU nice writing that was at least put into perspective in the text.

Garbage disposal?

Yes, many cruise ships dump plastic at sea. It’s illegal according to U.S. and international maritime law, but many companies have proven they don’t care, and have been caught illegally spewing plastic into the sea. Carnival Cruise Lines was found dumping food mixed with plastic waste into the waters of the Bahamas. And in 2019, Royal Caribbean was fined $20 million for its illegal plastic disposal methods. The cruise industry has been accused of having some of the worst waste management practices worldwide, and while the law says cruise ships have to offload plastic at a port, we know that many are doing just the opposite.

Friends of the Earth May 18,2022

LNG - not only dirty but also expensive

LNG gas is still a fossil fuel and very environmentally unfriendly to handle. The LNG terminals that the German Economics Minister bought for Germany for billions were banned in Australia because of their high environmental impact. Even the few new cruise ships that were heavily advertised with LNG gas are apparently not a solution, according to a report that was almost never repeated:

Because of high prices

Aida cruise ships are again using diesel

SPON 05.01.2023

Dirty diesel instead of natural gas: Due to increased prices for liquefied natural gas (LNG), the two cruise ships "Aidanova" and "Aidacosma" are currently not using the fuel that is considered more environmentally friendly. Instead, they have been running on marine gas oil (MGO) - a diesel fuel - for a few weeks, said Aida spokesman Hansjörg Kunze.

"According to Nabu, the majority of cruise ships continue to run on climate-damaging heavy fuel oil. June 28, 2023


Conservationists criticize the

cruise industry According

to Nabu, the majority

of cruise ships continue to use

climate-damaging heavy fuel


June 28, 2023

Source: ZEIT ONLINE, dp

And then there is the methane problem mentioned:

"Particularly worrying

is the sharp rise in the

Methane emissions from the

LNG usage," said Diesener.

Methane emissions caused by

the use of LNG

arise, over 80 times

are more harmful to the climate than CO₂

emissions. "Who here from

a bridging technology

speaks, closes the

eyes in front of the diverse

problems of LNG

nature-damaging fracking and

the climate killer methane.

Even marine diesel is too expensive, so 50% of cruise ships continue to use heavy fuel oil. In comparison, 82% of container ships operate without heavy fuel oil.

He was also annoyed with regard to the heavy oil quota of around 50 percent for cruise ships. The shipping companies could stop this immediately and without major modifications by using heavy-metal-free marine diesel. "No understanding," complained the cruise expert. This puts the industry in last place in the entire civil shipping industry. Even container ships would only be operated with 18 percent heavy fuel oil.

Weser Kurier 29.06.23

So it looks like always - not better maybe worse. Will anything ever change? The cruise industry continues to fail when it comes to the environment, as well as when it comes to the treatment of staff. Everything is only possible because it is covered and supported by politics.

Stephan Busch has an invaluable and diverse experience in the hospitality industry ranging from senior management positions with the most renowned hotel and resort companies to the project development - launch of operations, business development- for hotel and cruise companies in Asia, Europe, Canada and Russia.

His expertise includes not only planning, opening and operating of hotels, international golf clubs, airports, resorts and cruise ships, but also successful restructuring and repositioning of businesses during the financial crisis in Asia.

Stephan Busch earned his Master Certificate in Hospitality Management from Cornell University, USA and served many years as Academic Director / Faculty of Hospitality & Tourism at the State University for Humanities RGGU as well as the Swiss International University St. Petersburg.

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