MSC Cruises is to outline ambitious plans today to become the world’s first fully carbon neutral major global cruise line.

The European cruise company aims to offset all direct carbon dioxide (C02) emissions from its fleet marine operations through a mix of carbon offset projects.

All costs for the offsets to tackle greenhouse gas emissions as well as other associated items will be covered in full by the company. 

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The carbon offset range will incorporate projects which protect and restore ocean and coastal habitats.

As projects focused mainly on coastal habitats are scarce, MSC Cruises will support the development of the first carbon credits to be generated from the ocean.

This will constitute a new means for protecting and enhancing marine biodiversity and support communities that rely on the resources of the sea, according to the line.

The commitment to delivering zero-emissions operations also includes a specific focus on energy efficiency such as ship-to-shore power facilities, allowing vessels to have zero-emissions in ports that are ready for the technology.    

Details of the carbon neutral initiative will be revealed later on Friday in Hamburg on board giant new ship MSC Grandiosa, touted as one of the most environmentally-advanced to enter service.

MSC Grandiosa was delivered last week and MSC Cruises started construction on MSC Europa, the first of five liquified natural gas (LNG)-powered ships due to enter service between 2022 and 2027.

The 6,300-passenger vessel is due into Southampton on Tuesday for an overnight trade preview for 500 agents as part of a 13-night maiden sailing.

MSC Cruises executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said: “As we recognise that today’s even most advanced maritime environmental technology alone is insufficient to immediately reach carbon neutrality, the further commitment we make today ensures that our fleet makes no negative contribution to climate change, starting 1 January 2020.

“We are a company with over 300 years of maritime heritage and an historical focus on the long-term that is especially typical of family-owned businesses like ours.

“For us, this is another step forward in our long-standing commitment to protecting the oceans, the destinations we visit and the port communities we touch.” 

Vago added: “We will work with leading providers in carbon credits able to offset C02 emissions with the highest level of integrity. Our vision is to also invest in projects that provide quantifiable community benefits, protect the environment and support the UN sustainable development goals.

“We will put our people and our resources to work to also support the development of the specific type of projects, and the enabling certification processes, that can generate this innovative form of offsets which directly benefit the oceans and communities that live by the sea.

“As more of these become available, we will steadily increase our reliance on them as an additional area of focus within our overall long-term commitment to achieving zero-emissions operations.”