Costa Cruises, the Italian brand of Carnival Corporation & plc celebrated the first steel-cutting for Costa Toscana, the brand's second ship that can be powered in port and at sea by liquefied natural gas (LNG), at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland.
Costa Toscana is the second of two new sister ships ordered by Costa Cruises that can be powered in port and at sea by LNG, the world's cleanest burning fossil fuel. The first of these, Costa Smeralda, is nearing completion at the Meyer Turku shipyard and will enter service in October of this year, followed by Costa Toscana, which is expected to be delivered in 2021.
In total, following AIDAnova's launch at the end of 2018 as the world's first cruise vessel to be powered at sea and in port by LNG, Carnival Corporation has an additional 10 next-generation "green" cruise ships on order, with expected delivery dates between 2019 and 2025 for AIDA Cruises, P&O Cruises (UK), Carnival Cruise Line and Princess Cruises, in addition to Costa Cruises.
The introduction of LNG to power cruise ships is a ground-breaking innovation that supports the company's environmental goals with the virtual total elimination of sulfur dioxide emissions (zero emissions) and particulate matter (95 to 100% reduction). The use of LNG will also substantially reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide. The gas will be stored in special tanks on board and will be used to generate the energy required for navigation and onboard services, thanks to dual-fuel hybrid engines. Costa Smeralda and Costa Toscana are an integral part of the strategic plan for carbon footprint reduction, defined by Carnival Corporation's 2020 sustainability goals and fully implemented by Costa Cruises and the company's eight additional brands. Carnival Corporation achieved its 25% carbon reduction goal three years ahead of schedule in 2017 and made additional progress on that goal with a 27.6% reduction in emissions from operations in 2018.
With gross tonnage of over 180,000 and more than 2,600 staterooms on each ship, Costa Smeralda and Costa Toscana are part of the Costa Group's fleet expansion plan that includes a total of seven new ships scheduled to enter service by 2023. Carnival Corporation's Costa Group includes the company's Costa Cruises, Costa Asia and AIDA Cruises brands. AIDAnova, the first of these new ships, was launched at the end of 2018, followed by Costa Venezia, the brand's first ship designed for the Chinese market, at the end of February 2019.
"The steel-cutting ceremony for Costa Toscana is another step forward in our sustainable development plan," said Neil Palomba, president of Costa Cruises. "LNG propulsion for cruise ships is a major innovation, pioneering a new era in the use of low-carbon fuels that will significantly reduce exhaust emissions to help protect the environment without compromising on safety, in line with our top priorities."
Palomba continued: "Once again, Costa Cruises is paving the way for the industry as a whole: in accordance with our global vision aimed at sustainable development, we were the first to invest in this technology, which is now really starting to take hold. However, a lot remains to be done in terms of the ready availability of gas bunkering infrastructure to ensure the seamless transition to LNG. Costa Toscana and her sister ship Costa Smeralda may be highly innovative products, but they will retain that inimitable Italian hospitality that has been Costa Cruises' hallmark since the brand's inception, conveying the exhilaration of ocean travel and providing enhanced guest experiences for repeat and first-time cruisers alike."
Carnival Corporation and its nine global cruise line brands are committed to developing innovative solutions that support sustainable operations and a healthy environment. In addition to leading the cruise industry's use of LNG to power cruise ships, the company is also pioneering the use of Advanced Air Quality Systems (AAQS) on board its ships. As of July 2019, Advanced Air Quality Systems have been installed on 77 of the more than 100 ships in the Carnival Corporation fleet. The systems remove almost all of sulfur oxide emissions, 75% of all particulate matter and reduce nitrogen oxide emissions.