Cruise lines score environmental awards

Cruise lines get a lot of criticism for fouling up the air with tons of bad stuff emitted from their diesel burning engines. Environmental groups say “rightfully so” as dirty engines can emit a ton of gunk into the atmosphere each time they dock. But there was good news for Norwegian, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean cruise lines who all three won awards from the Port of Seattle for making an environmental difference recently.

In the first annual Green Gateway Partners Awards the lines were recognized for participating in the At-Berth Clean Fuels program, or use of shore power to plug in and turn off engines while docked at shore.

“Each of the companies recognized have demonstrated that you don’t have to choose between the environment and the economy,” said Port of Seattle CEO Tay Yoshitani.

Earlier this year, Princess Cruises Island Princess plugged in at the Port of San Francisco to a system that was built as a cooperative effort by the Port of San Francisco, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the Environmental Protection Agency, Holland America Line and Princess.

Princess’ shore power program made history debuting in environmentally extra-sensitive Juneau, Alaska in 2001, expanded to Seattle in 2005, and then to Vancouver in 2009. Currently nine of the line’s ships have the capability to “plug in” to a shore-side power source, representing an investment for Princess of nearly $7 million in equipment.

It’s a topic that comes up often these days as cruise ports green up and look to the future.

Last month, he Port of Los Angeles completed it’s World Cruise Center solar rooftop project. Estimated to produce 1.2 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually, the $10.8 million project will also result in an estimated $200,000 in energy cost savings.

It looks like they’re sailing in the right direction environmentally.

Flickr photo by Leandoe