Costa Cruises completes Italy’s first LNG bunkering operation

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Bunkering was carried out with Coral Methane alongside Costa Smeralda in the port of La Spezia. [Image: Carnival Corporation]

Carnival Corporation’s Costa Cruises brand reports another milestone for Costa Smeralda, its first ship fueled by liquefied natural gas (LNG). The Costa flagship’s bunkering with the fuel on October 25 in the port of La Spezia was the first such operation in Italy.

The operation was supported by the Italian Coast Guard, the Port Authority of Eastern Ligurian Sea, local authorities and Shell, which is the LNG supplier partner for Costa Group and Carnival Corporation.

The operation took place with the ship berthed at “Molo Garibaldi” pier, where the bunkering vessel Coral Methane was positioned alongside (bow to bow) Costa Smeralda, under the supervision of the Italian Coast Guard and in coordination with all parties involved and the crews of both ships.

“As part of our deep commitment to sustainability, we are proud to have our LNG-powered flagship Costa Smeralda mark this milestone for Italy and the port of La Spezia,” said Franco Porcellacchia, vice president of sustainable innovation and infrastructure development for Costa Group. “Carnival Corporation and Costa were the first cruise operator to invest in sustainable innovation with LNG-powered ship technology and we continue to be committed to ensuring the highest environmental standards for a more sustainable future of cruising.”

“With the LNG bunkering that took place in La Spezia, we also marked the 50th successful operation for a Costa Group ship,” said Tom Strang, senior vice president of maritime affairs for Carnival Corporation. “This is another important milestone that we have achieved by working together with our partners, as we continue to demonstrate Carnival Corporation’s commitment to sustainability and developing the most advanced fuel technologies available today. We are at the forefront of advancing LNG as a fuel source for the cruise industry and we are working to build an extensive, safe and reliable LNG infrastructure for cruise ships around the globe.”

“The goal of our working group was to implement appropriate rules and procedures to ensure the highest safety standards, starting with navigation, environmental protection, fire prevention and workplace safety,” said Giovanni Stella, captain of La Spezia Coast Guard. “Every prescription adopted was duly observed and we are particularly satisfied that the operation had a regular evolution. Thanks to this positive experience, we believe that other maritime authorities can implement the regulation we have defined in order to increase the LNG distribution infrastructure in Italian ports, as indicated by the Italian and European regulations.”

“A very important milestone was reached for the first time in our country, once again right in the port of La Spezia,” said Carla Roncallo, president of the Port Authority of Eastern Ligurian Sea. “I would like to thank in particular the La Spezia Coast Guard and the Maritime Directorate of Liguria, who together with Costa Cruises made this operation possible, always keeping safety at the first place.”

Costa Smeralda is the first LNG-powered ship in the Costa Cruises fleet, and will be followed by Costa Toscana, the sister LNG ship scheduled to be delivered in late 2021. Another LNG ship, AIDAnova from AIDA Cruises, has been operating within the Costa Group fleet since 2018 and she will be followed by other two sister vessels by 2023.

Elsewhere in the overall Carnival Corporation fleet, a third LNG-powered ship, the Iona, was recently delivered to P&O Cruises U.K.

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