Hurtigruten ahead, but not good: NABU presents new cruise ranking

Once a year, the German Nature Conservation Union evaluates how the cruise industry is doing in terms of environmental and climate protection.

Hurtigruten ahead, but not good: NABU presents new cruise ranking

Once a year, the German Nature Conservation Union evaluates how the cruise industry is doing in terms of environmental and climate protection. With all the progress that NABU sees in the new cruise ranking, the criticism still prevails: the shipping companies are doing far too little. But praise comes for three German companies.

The German Nature Conservation Union (NABU) recognizes progress in environmental and climate protection in the cruise industry - but the shipping companies are still doing "far too little". NABU complained in its current cruise ranking that most ships continue to run on cheap but toxic heavy fuel oil. Only a few truly future-proof projects are being planned and implemented. Hurtigruten Norway was the best in the ranking of 19 shipping companies.

Although Hurtigruten ended up in first place, it only achieved half of the possible points, as NABU announced. The Norwegian provider as well as Hapag-Lloyd Cruises and Ponant from France score with the heavy oil phase-out and shore power, but the expedition ships do not have a good environmental balance per person.

This is due to the fact that there are often far fewer passengers on board. In addition, an expedition cruise is often accompanied by a flight to the other end of the world and also takes place in ecologically particularly sensitive areas.

The three German companies AIDA, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises and TUI Cruises are among the top five in the NABU ranking. They could "be regarded as pioneers, especially for measures on large and very large ships," praised NABU. TUI Cruises has commissioned a ship that is to be operated with climate-neutral methanol. Other shipping companies used batteries and fuel cells - but so far only as small additions to the combustion engine.

"The previously tentative projects towards more climate friendliness must be implemented promptly on a larger scale," demanded NABU. Plentiful words and announcements come from many companies: "Environmental and climate protection is often just lip service."

For faster implementation, the environmental protection organization called for the "immediate" phase-out of heavy fuel oil and zero emissions for all new ships as standard. Politicians should set appropriate guidelines.

Cruise expert Sönke Diesener said that Hurtigruten's first place shows "that strict regulation helps". Norway has had strict nitrogen oxide specifications since 2007; certain fjords may in future only be navigated by zero-emission ships. "For us, that means we need stricter laws across the board in order to push for comparable development throughout the industry." These included a general ban on heavy fuel oil, mandatory shore power and a quota for the use of synthetic fuels. NABU also calls for the large-scale designation of zero and low-emission areas at sea.

Zero emissions can be achieved "already today" at the berth in the port: The ships are connected to electricity from the shore, the engines remain off. But hardly any ship uses the opportunity, complained Malte Siegert, NABU chairman in Hamburg: "Shore power plants have been built for millions of taxpayers' money - in Hamburg already in 2016. But hardly any of the around 50 luxury liners calling at Hamburg take it."

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