MSC Starts Up Shore Power Program In Northern Europe

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MSC Cruises will be using shore power in Northern Europe this summer. Two ships, MSC Virtuosa and MSC Poesia, will be using shore power while in the ports of Southampton in the UK and Rostock-Warnemünde in Germany. 

By the end of the year, the cruise line hopes to have over half the fleet shore-power compatible, and the company signed an agreement with Cruise Baltic to have shore power widely available in ports in the Baltic Sea region by 2024.

Net-zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2050

Just as Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival Corporation, and Royal Caribbean have pledged, MSC Cruises aims to be 100% net-zero on greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The ambitious plans force the company to take action by developing a range of initiatives that further reduce the emissions and pollution from burning heavy fuel oil. 

As MSC Virtuosa and MSC Poesia start using shore power from two ports in Northern Europe, the company will significantly reduce the number of emissions in Southampton and Rostock-Warnemünde. It is the first time shore power will be used in either port by the world’s third-largest cruise line.

MSC Cruises Ship
Photo Credit: Ronald Rampsch / Shutterstock

Shore-power enables ships to switch off all engines and run on power from ashore to power all onboard systems. It will significantly reduce costs, but it also reduces noise levels from ships in port and eliminates vibrations. 

Rostock-Warnemünde is already the largest shore-power provider for cruise ships in Europe, while Southampton is the largest cruise embarkation port in Europe. 

Linden Coppell, Director of Sustainability at MSC Cruises, said, “We look forward to using shore power in Southampton and Warnemünde throughout the summer season and we congratulate the port authorities for their forward-thinking and innovative commitment.”

“We at MSC Cruises are continuously striving to improve our environmental footprint, and shore power allows us to do so by drastically reducing our ships’ emissions while berthed. We need more ports in other key markets in Europe to introduce shore power as quickly as possible, thus joining our efforts towards net-zero emissions by 2050 and greatly reducing our local air emissions.”

MSC Virtuosa at Sea
Photo Courtesy: MSC Cruises

MSC also signed a deal with Cruise Baltic. This includes 32 ports and destinations in the Baltic Sea Region, which will now work to increase shore power supply facilities in the region.

MSC Cruises ensures that cruise ships in the Baltic Sea Region use the shore power supply, if available, no later than January 1, 2024.

MSC Works On Redesigning The Cruise Industry

By 2022, MSC will fit 11 out of 21 cruise ships with shore power connectivity. The other vessels in the fleet will also be retrofitted with this capability once it becomes available in the ports they sail to. 

Linden Coppell added, “We are committed to supporting authorities in developing shoreside power for our ships while in port. We have a clear and unequivocal position, that wherever shore power is available we will prioritize ships that have that capability.” 

On top of shore-power, there are several more initiatives that MSC has taken to reduce emissions. This includes running its newest cruise ships, MSC World Europa and MSC Euribia, on LNG. 14 of MSC Cruises’ vessels have been fitted with hybrid exhaust gas cleaning systems, ensuring sulfur oxides reduction of 98%.

MSC Virtuosa Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Wayleebird /

New ships will also be fitted with selective catalytic reduction systems, which convert nitrogen oxides into harmless nitrogen and water. And, MSC World Europa will have the largest solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) ever installed, generating electricity 20 to 30 percent more efficiently through a non-combustion electrochemical process. 

Cruise Industry On Course For 2050

Over the last decades, the cruise industry has been under increasing pressure to take action on the polluting ways of the past and focus energy on developing sustainable efforts to reduce the use of heavy fuel oil. 

The three biggest players on the market, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and MSC have all taken this advice to heart by developing LNG-powered cruise ships and investing heavily in fuel cell technologies. 

At the same time, Norwegian Cruise Line has been busy investing in scrubbers and environmental measures that significantly reduce the amount of emissions and pollution coming from its ships. 

While the industry is not at the end goal yet, it is on course to achieve its goals for 2050. 

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