P&O ships switch from diesel to LNG

16 November 2017

The owner of P&O cruise liners will take delivery in 2020 of a new ship fuelled by liquified natural gas (LNG), as part of the company’s transition to cleaner fuels.

This will be P&O’s first LNG ship, and will follow the launch next year of the very first LNG-powered cruise ship, by parent company Carnival Corporation under the Aida brand in 2018. Seven ships in total have been commissioned by Carnival.

The company’s current ships are powered by diesel, and the shift to LNG is part of its sustainability goals, reducing exhaust emissions and helping to protect the environment.

Speaking at a CIPS Southampton branch event held by Carnival UK, Sermet Baykaner, vice president of procurement and supply chain, said the new ship was a gamechanger, and would incorporate other new technology, such as its Ocean Medallion wearable device for guests.

But while the new ships will reduce emissions, cost would at this stage be no cheaper, said Baykaner. “The engines are fundamentally different, which brings us to a clean fuel world that is just unachievable on current vessels across most of the world. We have designed them and are committed to seven for various brands.

“The technology is quite expensive, and it requires heavy investment on port facilities because you need to be able to fill up in port. So in the short term it is almost certainly not going to be cheaper, but it is the right thing to do, to move the industry in this direction.”

Fuel is the biggest cost for the company, costing the company spending about $2 billion/year, said Rod Day, senior manager of technical purchasing. In the last 12 months, P&O ships alone visited 208 different ports, travelling 754,000 nautical miles between 80 countries, delegates were told.

Ocean Medallion is worn by guests to personalise and simplify their communication and digital interaction on board the ship, to allow guests to access further information about on board facilities and request services.

When asked about Brexit, Baykaner confirmed that post-Brexit, ports should not be a problem for guests and ships, as the journeys come under maritime law and contracts, and are already part of an international de facto system. Currency, however, has been something of a struggle, he added, as they are highly exposed to fluctuations. “And like many others, I am sure, we employ some amazing EU nationals who are very worried about their future,” he said.

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