The marine bunkering company Vitol has expanded its operations to Dubai’s Port Rashid, providing bunkering services to cruise ships conducting stopovers in the city.
The company has also announced that its full range of marine fuels and biofuels are also available at the cruise terminal, providing greater flexibility to cruise lines looking for low carbon bunkering options.
Dubai is the primary cruise port in the Middle East for cruise lines homeporting in the Arabian Gulf for the winter season, as well as a popular turnaround port for World Cruises and grand voyages between east and west.
Many of these cruise lines, such as MSC Cruises, Costa Cruises and AIDA Cruises, which all homeport annually in Dubai, have outlined plans to either make their operations net carbon neutral by significantly reducing emissions, or are in the process of decarbonising.
MSC Cruises for example is building its first LNG-powered cruise ship, MSC World Europa, and plans to deploy her to the Arabian Gulf out of Dubai for the coming 2022/23 Middle East cruise season, while Costa Cruises is sending its LNG-powered AIDAcosma.
Costa Cruises, meanwhile, is sending the LNG-powered Costa Toscana. LNG fuel is a more environmentally friendly alternative than heavy marine oil or diesel, emitting fewer emissions, especially carbon monoxide and sulphur, which contribute to global warming.
LNG bunkering has long been an established service in ports in Dubai, but the transition to biofuels is an important development, as many of these cruise lines are looking to scale up the use of bio alternatives in their fleets.
AIDA Cruises recently became the first big ship cruise line to bunker with biofuels. It’s AIDAprima ship was refuelled with a biofuel blend in Rotterdam during her European season, and the cruise line plans to expand biofuel bunkering fleetwide.
MSC Cruises has not used biofuels in its cruise fleet yet, but has begun refuelling its merchant cargo ships with biofuels. The cruise line is a subsidiary of the MSC Shipping Company, one of the largest cargo ship fleets in the world.
Costa Cruises also has plans to incorporate biofuels into its bunkering options, and was the first cruise line in the world to launch a Decarbonisation Department. The cruise line has said it plans to achieve carbon neutral operations by 2050.
MSC is also planning to go carbon neutral by 2050, and is aiming for a 40% reduction by 2027.