Nabu study: Cruise ships continue to be problematic for the climate and the environment

MSC Fantasia (Photo: Mussklprozz).
MSC Fantasia (Photo: Mussklprozz).

Nabu study: Cruise ships continue to be problematic for the climate and the environment

MSC Fantasia (Photo: Mussklprozz).
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Before so-called climate protectors like Greta Thunberg put aviation in the crossfire of criticism, cruise ships got their fat. In the meantime, hardly anyone is talking about the fact that environmental protection at sea is at best a marginal issue.

The German Nature Conservation Union has been monitoring the cruise industry for over ten years. The latest report shows that much has been announced so far, but little has been implemented. Heavy fuel oil, which is considered to be harmful to the environment and climate but dirt cheap, is still used by almost all shipping companies. A few new builds rely on alternatives, but conversions of existing fleets have been announced at most, but have only been implemented in a few cases.

The Nabu examined a total of 19 shipping companies and their environmental and climate protection promises. The result of the analysis is devastating, because Hurtigruten Norway, which was ranked first, was only able to achieve half of the possible points. Accordingly, it looks sobering on the following ranks.

These include Aida, Hapag-Llyod and Tui Cruises. The Nabu study shows that, although a lot has been announced and one could therefore be considered a pioneer, a lot has not yet been implemented. Further back are Costa, Phoenix Reisen and Marella. The latter shipping company was not able to achieve any point at all in the most recent Nabu ranking.

The environmental organization demands that cruise ships should no longer be operated with heavy fuel oil as soon as possible. Politicians, but also shipping companies, are being asked to ensure that all new ships in the future are allowed to cause zero emissions. Some alternatives are currently under construction, but these are almost exclusively LNG ships. A few projects are planned in the field of fuel cells and batteries. For example, Tui Cruises wants to launch a ship with a methanol drive.

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Editor of this article:

Jan Gruber is Senior Editor at Aviation.Direct. Before that, he had held the same position at AviationNetOnline (formerly Austrian Aviation Net) since 2012. He specializes in low-cost carriers, regional aviation in the DA-CH region and in-depth research.

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About the editor

Jan Gruber is Senior Editor at Aviation.Direct. Before that, he had held the same position at AviationNetOnline (formerly Austrian Aviation Net) since 2012. He specializes in low-cost carriers, regional aviation in the DA-CH region and in-depth research.

Nobody likes paywalls
- not even Aviation.Direct!

Information should be free for everyone, but good journalism costs a lot of money.

If you enjoyed this article, you can check Aviation.Direct voluntary for a cup of coffee Coffee trail (for them it's free to use).

In doing so, you support the journalistic work of our independent specialist portal for aviation, travel and tourism with a focus on the DA-CH region voluntarily without a paywall requirement.

If you did not like the article, we look forward to your constructive criticism and / or your suggestions for improvement, either directly to the editor or to the team at with this link or alternatively via the comments.

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