Huge MSC Cruise Ship Makes First Connection in the Mediterranean

MSC Cruises has successfully connected MSC World Europa to shore power in Malta, the first operational shore power port in the Mediterranean.

MSC Cruises has successfully connected one of its cruise ships to shore power in Malta, making the next step toward the goal of a net zero greenhouse gas operation by 2050.

Using shore power allows a ship to turn off its engine while in port and rely instead on the local power grid instead. The station in Malta is the first operational facility in the Mediterranean.

Valetta Home to First Shore Power Facility in the Mediterranean

After a series of tests earlier this year, MSC World Europa was able to connect to shore power in the port of Valetta, the cruise line reported on December 18. The capital of Malta, Valetta, is located on the main island of the country between Marsamxett Harbour and Grand Harbour.

MSC Cruises has said it’s committed to the use of shore power wherever it is available. Currently, Valetta is the sole operator of such a facility in the region. MSC World Europa will connect to the shore power facilities from now on when visiting the port – a destination it’s scheduled to stop at weekly through 2025.

MSC World Europa, which launched in 2022, has other environmentally friendly features as well. It’s the first MSC Cruises ship to be propelled by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and also includes a water recycling technology that purifies wastewater. It has a passenger capacity of nearly 7,000.

“Our shore power plan demonstrates that we are fully committed to reducing emissions from our ships,” said Michele Francioni, senior vice president of cost optimization and process improvement for MSC Cruises.

MSC World Europa Cruise Ship
MSC World Europa Cruise Ship (Photo Courtesy: MSC Cruises)

At least 15 other ports have shore power plans in the works, including the Italian ports of Genoa, La Spezia, Civitavecchia, Naples, and Trieste. Other European ports with similar plans include Barcelona, Hamburg, Valencia, Marseille, and Copenhagen.

A new cruise terminal in Miami, scheduled to open in 2024, also will offer shore power capabilities. Nearby, Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale is finalizing plans for similar stations.

Read Also: MSC Cruises Details Future Shore Power Strategy

MSC Cruises is working to retrofit its ships with a shore power connection, though each new ship since 2017 was delivered with the feature already available. In addition, all ships in the cruise company’s luxury brand, Explora Journeys, will be fitted with shore power capabilities.

Shore Power Facilities Expanding in Europe

While Malta is home to the first shore power facility in the Mediterranean, other ports in Europe already have established connections for visiting cruise ships. Among them are Kiel and Warnemünde in Germany, the Norwegian ports of Bergen, Aalesund and Haugesund, and Southampton in the UK.

MSC World Europa Anchor
MSC World Europa Anchor (Photo Credit: ODIN Daniel / Shutterstock)

“We need more ports across Europe and beyond to introduce shore power as quickly as possible so that we can further reduce local air emissions,” Francioni said. “We will ensure our ships are ready to connect wherever the facilities are available to us.”

Meeting Greener Standards Can Prove Pricy

MSC Cruises isn’t alone in aiming to use shore power to meet net zero greenhouse gas goals. Nearly all major cruise lines have included using shore power as part of their environmental strategies. Cunard Line announced in August 2023 that it had retrofitted its three current ships for shore power.

One challenge is that shore power is often pricier than heavy fuel oil, which is used by cruise ships. Shore power, meanwhile, often relies on burning fossil fuels rather than greener options such as solar power. In addition, the cost of converting a cruise ship to accommodate shore power can cost up to $2 million per vessel.

New regulations coming in 2025 could speed along cruise lines’ adaptation to shore power. Among them is the FuelEU Maritime regulation that stipulates that beginning in 2030, cruise ships must connect to shore power if they are berthed for more than two hours at ports that are part of the Trans-European Transport Network.

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