Cruise lines and gas companies are looking at The Bahamas as a liquefied natural gas (LNG) hub for the cruise ships of the near future, which will be powered by LNG-burning engines, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCCL) Michael Bayley said Thursday.
Bayley said currently the availability of LNG is problematic for the cruise industry, but he explained that the cruise companies have been working to develop relationships with companies that will be able to supply LNG for future ships.
“We have already started working on the development of relationships and infrastructure to bring LNG to the various ports, so that our ships could get that LNG,” Bayley said.
“All of the cruise lines are on the journey to move to LNG.”
Bayley said RCCL will have its first Icon class, LNG-powered ship in 2022. He said it is likely that, over the next five to 10 years, the entire cruise industry will move to LNG for all of the new ships that are built.
Since Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) announced that Shell North America will be building a new LNG power plant at Clifton Pier, there have been discussions about The Bahamas becoming an LNG hub.
Bayley said he was recently in a meeting that covered exactly that topic.
“I was in a meeting that discussed The Bahamas and how it can act as a support system in terms of LNG accessibility, and all of the big gas companies are involved,” he said.
Ship-technology.com explains that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) announced a global cap on sulphur emissions in 2016, and pegged the cruise industry as one of the biggest offenders.
“Under the IMO’s ruling, ships will be required to carry fuel with a sulphur content of no more than 0.50 percent m/m from 2020, marking a significant reduction from the current volume (3.50 percent m/m),” the website states.
Bayley said it is almost impossible for ships to be retrofitted with LNG-burning engines, therefore cruise lines will outfit their new ships with the cleaner burning fuel.