Icon of the Seas gets first LNG fuel tank as Royal Caribbean targets zero emissions

Icon of the Seas, Royal Caribbean’s first LNG-powered cruise ship and the first in its new Icon-class of ships, has received the first of two LNG fuel tanks.

In a video posted to YouTube by Royal Caribbean, the first massive LNG fuel tank is shown being installed aboard Icon of the Seas.

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The 307-ton fuel tank is 90 feet (27 meters) in length and is among the largest in the cruise industry, as it will store LNG for one of the largest LNG-fueled cruise ships ever built.

Icon of the Seas will be 200,000-gross tons, around 10% larger than the Excellence-class built for Carnival Corporation, which includes Mardi Gras, Iona, AIDAnova, AIDAcosma, Costa Smeralda, and Costa Toscana.

At the time of writing, the Excellence-class are the largest LNG-fuelled cruise ships in the world.

Not much has been revealed about Icon of the Seas, which is under construction at the Meyer Turku shipyard. She is scheduled for delivery in 2023 and will carry at least 5,000 passengers.

LNG, or liquefied natural gas, is the cleanest marine fuel currently available. It emits virtually zero sulfur dioxides and particulates, and significantly reduces nitrous oxides, while also reducing carbon emissions by around 20%.

Icon of the Seas will also feature shore power connectivity to remove emissions while alongside, as well as advanced waste heat recovery systems that repurpose heat to be used as energy onboard.

Icon of the Seas is Royal Caribbean’s first LNG fuelled cruise ship

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“Decades of continuous improvement in energy efficiency and ocean conservation will be evident throughout the Icon,” the cruise line said in a statement.

The release of the video comes as the cruise line announced a plan to become a carbon-neutral cruise operator by 2050 in what it calls the Destination Net Zero program. Royal Caribbean is the second cruise line after MSC Cruises to announce such an initiative.

“Decades ago, we set out on a course to advance sustainability; our vision now is to realize carbon-free cruising over the next two decades,” said Richard Fain, Chairman & CEO at Royal Caribbean Group.

“Today we are announcing the most important destination of all in our company’s history – Destination Net Zero – an ambitious strategy to cut emissions, protect our oceans, and ensure the viability of the hundreds of destinations that our guests and crew members care deeply about,” he added.

Royal Caribbean Group Announces “Destination Net Zero” — Program to Achieve Net Zero Emissions by 2050

Destination Net Zero

Royal Caribbean Group’s Destination Net Zero will start with the development of Science Based Targets initiatives (SBTi) over the coming 18 to 24 months.

Science-based targets show companies how much, and how quickly, they need to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to help limit global warming.

These will be used to inform its first major goal of launching the world’s first net zero cruise ship by 2035.

Although a hugely ambitious undertaking, Royal Caribbean noted that thanks to optimized hull design and system upgrades such as AC chillers utilizing 30-40 percent less energy, Royal Caribbean Group has consistently delivered a new generation of ships 20-25 percent more efficient than their predecessors.

“Royal Caribbean Group has a history of innovating in every aspect and level of the company,” said William K. Reilly, Chairman at Royal Caribbean Group’s board of directors’ safety, environment, and health committee. “This is another important step on the serious and ambitious path to preserve the health and allure of the sea and the beauty of the oceans.”

Destination Net Zero’s four-pronged approach includes:

Modernization of Royal Caribbean Group’s global brands fleet through the introduction of 13 new energy-efficient and alternatively fueled vessels, including its recently announced Project Evolution.

Continued investment in energy efficiency programs for its fleet, including energy saving technologies, enhanced data systems and digitalization.

Development of alternative fuel and alternative power solutions.

Optimized deployment and integration of strategic shore-based supply chains.

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