Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. will retrofit 19 of its ships with advanced emissions purification (AEP) systems. These systems, also known as scrubbers, will remove more than 97% of the sulfur dioxide emissions generated by the ships’ diesel engines.
The company says the move will position RCL ahead of all forthcoming International Maritime Organization Emission Control Area emissions standards, and will ensure compliance with existing European Union standards. Additionally, the decision to install AEP systems instead of switching to a fuel with a lower sulfur content will ensure that RCL’s ships can be compliant everywhere they sail, as availability of lower-sulfur fuels is limited.
“AEP technology for maritime vessels is very new, and we expect that by utilizing multiple technological solutions to accommodate the differences among our ships, additional development will ultimately help industrialize AEP technology even more, which will benefit not only RCL but also the larger maritime industry,” said Adam Goldstein, President and COO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
The company faced significant challenges in order to accommodate the AEP systems on its existing ships – some pieces of which can be as large as a school bus, an entire system having an operational weight of several hundred tons of equipment and liquids.
“A retrofit project of this size and complexity – and the scale and intricacy of the research, planning, and design required – is unprecedented for our company, and has required a very systematic process and involved the world’s leading expertise in this field,” said Harri Kulovaara, Executive Vice President, Maritime, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
RCL contracted two different AEP technology suppliers, Swedish company Alfa Laval and Finnish company Wartsila. Additional companies are being hired to execute the installations.
Beginning in January 2015, installation will take place on 13 Royal Caribbean International ships and six Celebrity Cruises ships, during scheduled dry-dockings and while ships are in service. While preliminary work has begun on several of the ships receiving AEP systems, most will take place between 2015 and 2017. Each installation will take approximately eight months.