How Green Is Green?

For the past several decades, many within the scientific and environmental communities have attempted to educate us about protecting our environment. I believe that most of us, individuals as well as industry, are trying to control waste and search out alternative methods of energy resources.

Most likely, some of my readers may feel that not enough is being done within the Cruise Line Sector. But before you criticize, I might ask you “How green are you in your community?”

I use that word “community” because Royal Caribbean International and their ships can be considered floating communities, in view of the number of passengers their ships carry.

Under his stewardship, CEO, Mr. Robert D. Fain has made it a strong corporate policy that Royal Caribbean International, does its utmost to maintain, develop, research and place into their corporate policy the best and most comprehensive measures to be as environmentally friendly as possible. In doing so, this firm has been honored by several environmental organizations such as Oceana, Green Corps, in addition to winning the Green Star award for Environmental Stewardship in Alaska.

What measures has this firm undertaken?
They have initiated the purchase of more bio-diesel fuel for their ships. They are sorting and storing glass, plastic and metal containers. Much of this waste is held special freezers, to prevent bacteria growth. Then, at designated ports, this waste is transferred to a selected and trained firms for proper recycling. Hazardous waste such as photo processing chemicals and discarded batteries are also stored onboard until they can be transferred to a licensed hazardous waste processing firm. All such transfers are reported to the EPA.

Each ship maintains and operates their own Marine Sanitation Device to treat “Black Water”. Black Water is water from the passenger cabins, crew quarters, and kitchens. The MSDs are staffed by trained environmental officers, (as an added measure a private auditing firm inspects the facilities,as well as sharing these auditors’ reports with the Coast Guard).

The company’s quest, as I mentioned earlier, is to try always to strive to do better and remain Environmentally and Green Friendly.

Within the past few years Royal Caribbean International has introduced a cleaner bilge-water purification system, which improves the bilge-water quality. They have introduced shipboard gas turbines engines, which reduces the smokestack emissions of sulfur oxide (SOX) by more than 80% and nitrous oxide (NOX) by over 90%.

In 2007 Royal Caribbean International named Mr. Jamie Steeting as its Vice President of the Environmental Stewardship. His devotion and background in regard to these issues, I am sure, was a most positive match. Yet by sailing on these ships and past clients’ replies, I can see that he as well as the staff are dedicated to all possible measures to maintain and improve not only the product but also “Our Environment.”

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