P&O Cruises will install cleaning systems to reduce exhaust emissions aboard its cruise ship Oceana ahead of her first ever Middle East cruise season out of Dubai.
The cruise ship will undergo a technical dry-dock at the end of this year before her 2019 Arabian Gulf deployment. During the dry-docking, EGCS systems will be installed to significantly reduce sulphur oxides (SOX), soot and particulate matter emitted from the ship’s funnels.
“We continue to invest heavily in environmental technology for Oceana and for all ships across the fleet,” P&O Cruises said in a statement. “. In keeping with this environmental strategy, EGCS will be fitted on Oceana in dry dock later this year. These EGCS will significantly reduce sulphur oxides (SOX), soot and particulate matter.”
The move comes after Dr. Matthew Loxham, a research fellow in respiratory biology and air pollution toxicology in University of Southampton, found that the air on cruise ships’ decks can be heavy with ultra-fine particles emitted from burning fuel.
On deck, downwind of the smokestacks, the investigative team measured 84,000 particulates per cubic cm. Closer to the smokestacks, the numbers increased to 144,000.
“These are levels that you would expect to see in the most polluted cities,” he said.
It’s important to note, though, that even during a three month cruise, such particulates in the air would pose little risk to passengers, even if they spent every waking moment on deck, downwind of the funnel.
While such pollutants can get lodged in the lungs and over time can cause asthma and chronic lung disease, it would take years of exposure for real damage to be done.
For this reason, air pollution is not a ‘consideration’ of health dangers during ocean travel, according to the WHO.
P&O Cruises added in its statement that since 2005, it has reduced fuel consumption by 28%.