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MSC Cruises helping to advance low-carbon ops, joins EU-backed CHEK Consortium

The Consortium is expected to receive monetary support from the European Union (EU)
MSC Cruises is participating in a research project led by Finland’s University of Vaasa that looks at combining progressive energy technologies and forward-thinking ship design to promote low-carbon maritime operations.

The CHEK Consortium – Decarbonising Shipping by enabling Key Technology ­– is expected to receive funding from Horizon 2020, the European Union's framework programme for research and innovation, to demonstrate the advantages of hydrogen propulsion, ultrasound antifouling, hull air-lubrication, waste to energy systems and digitalised optimisation software, fully integrated to maximise efficiency across all aspects of ship operations.

Bringing together leaders from across the World Maritime University, Wärtsilä, Cargill, Lloyds Register, Silverstream Technologies, Hasytec, Deltamarin, Climeon and BAR Technologies, results of the project will be shared industry wide. 

Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman, MSC Cruises, said the cruise line’s long-term goal is ‘to achieve a zero-impact cruise operation’ adding, ‘this is the journey we are on today.’

So explained Vago, ‘As we work with our partners to identify new technologies that will bring us closer to this goal with each new ship that we build and bring into service, we continue to equip our ships with the latest and most effective technologies in the market.

‘We are delighted to partner with other industry leaders in their fields to together research and develop new solutions that will support the road to decarbonisation of shipping. This is another example of our commitment to the accelerated development of next-generation environmental technologies and solutions.’

MSC Virtuosa/MSC Seashore

Scheduled to enter service this year, MSC Virtuosa and MSC Seashore are fitted with enhanced technologies that are capable of achieving a 98% reduction of sulphur oxide (SOx) emissions and reducing nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 90%, according to MSC. They will also feature shore-to-ship power connectivity.

‘Every new ship that joins our fleet incorporates solutions to minimise our environmental footprint,’ said MSC Cruises’ Director of Sustainability Linden Coppell. ‘As new technologies are identified, we also work to improve the existing fleet, investigating retrofit opportunities, incorporating new energy reduction measures, working extensively with industry experts and seeking out drop-in alternative fuels to achieve the ambitious carbon intensity reduction goals of our industry.’

Both ships will be equipped with LED lighting and an underwater radiated noise management system, with hull and engine room designs that minimise acoustic sound impact.

Smart ventilation and advanced air conditioning systems, with automated energy recovery loops that redistribute heat and cold to reduce demand, are aimed at optimising energy and improving engine efficiency.

In partnership with designated shipyards, all new builds will be fitted with remote energy monitoring and analysis systems, with real-time shoreside support.


Work on a second MSC LNG vessel - the fifth Meraviglia class ship – is set for this year, following sister ship MSC World Europa, which is scheduled for delivery in 2022.

MSC World Europa will comprise a 50kw, LNG-powered solid oxide fuel cell with the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a further 25% compared to a conventional LNG engine, claims MSC.