Carnival Cruise ship emits more toxic fumes than all of Europe’s cars, study finds

A new study commissioned by the European Federation for Transport and Environment revealed that toxic emissions of sulfur oxides from 63 cruise ships belonging to Carnival Corporation were 43% higher than all the combustion engine vehicles in Europe. This stunning statistic comes as EU leaders have decided to ban small combustion engines for cars by 2035. But what about ‘green’ cruise ships? Only crickets… 

“The most polluting cruise ship operator was MSC Cruises, whose vessels emitted nearly as much sulphur as all the 291 million cars in Europe. When looking at parent companies, as in our original 2019 report, the Carnival Corporation comes on top with the 63 ships under its control emitting 43% more sulfur oxides than all of Europe’s cars in 2022,” the study said.

For cruise ship operators to achieve carbon-neutral status, this might take decades. According to the study, about 40% of cruise ships in the order books of global shipyards are dual-fuel LNG engines. “When running on LNG, these ships will cause less air pollution, but they are more damaging than fuel oils from a climate perspective due to methane slip from their four-stroke engines,” the study noted. 

The study continued, “Cruise companies should discontinue investing in LNG-powered vessels and prioritize zero-emission technologies, such as hydrogen fuel-cells, batteries, and wind-power.” 

Cruise ship order books currently have limited to no zero-emission vessels in shipyards. The most immediate fuel switch is from heavy fuel oil to LNG. 

The study shows Carnival’s vessels pollute more than Europe’s cars and then some, but what’s mindboggling is that EU lawmakers went after cars first in their ‘greenification’ crusade. Why not cruise ships?