Icon of the Seas: World’s largest cruise ship raises methane concerns

  • The 365m-long Icon of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship, has set sail from Miami with a capacity of 7,600 passengers.
  • Despite using LNG, concerns have been raised about the ship’s potential methane emissions, which can have harmful effects on the environment.
  • The cruise industry, including Royal Caribbean, must prioritize sustainable practices to address its carbon footprint, given its significant economic contribution.

The world’s largest cruise ship Icon of the Seas embarked on its highly anticipated maiden voyage from Miami, Florida. The 365m-long (1,197 ft) monster can house a maximum of 7,600 people across its 20 decks. While the vessel’s impressive features and luxurious amenities attract attention, there are mounting concerns about its potential methane emissions.

LNG fuel and methane leakage

The $2 billion (£1.6 billion) ship, owned by Royal Caribbean Group, offers an array of attractions, including seven swimming pools, six water slides, and over 40 restaurants, bars, and lounges. Despite utilizing liquefied natural gas (LNG), which burns cleaner than traditional marine fuels, experts worry that the ship opulent features may still contribute to harmful methane leakage. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, trapping heat in the atmosphere much more effectively than carbon dioxide.

Bryan Comer, director of the Marine Programme at the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), highlights the concern that LNG as a marine fuel could emit over 120% more life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions than marine gas oil. This raises questions about the long-term sustainability of using LNG in cruise ships.

Also read: Carbon trading explained: Top 4 carbon emission exchanges in 2024

Royal Caribbean’s sustainability commitment

Royal Caribbean asserts that the Icon of the Seas exceeds the energy efficiency requirements set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and has plans to introduce a net-zero ship by 2035. However, the cruise industry, one of the fastest-growing sectors of tourism, must address its carbon footprint and prioritize sustainable practices.

With the cruise industry contributing $75 billion (£59 billion) to the global economy in 2021, it is imperative that stakeholders focus on mitigating methane emissions and promoting sustainable development.


Cassie Gong

Cassie is a news reporter at BTW media focusing on company profiles, interviews, podcasts, networking, sustainability, and AI. She graduated from Newcastle University, UK with a Master’s degree in Translating & Interpreting and now works in London and Hangzhou. Send tips to c.gong@btw.media.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *