European Ports Eye LNG Supply

From left: Valeria Mangiarotti, Rui Lopes, Federico Bartoli, and Tom Strang

One of the most important and challenging discussions for the future of the cruise industry centers around the potential of LNG availability.

The Mediterranean will get tested first, as the AIDAnova will spend winter in the Canary Islands as the first LNG-powered cruise ship, to be followed by the Costa Smeralda next October, which will homeport in Savona.

“We are not talking about two trucks or a small barge,” said Tom Strang, senior vice president of maritime affairs for Carnival Corporation, speaking at the 52nd MedCruise General Assembly taking place in Valletta, Malta, this week.

Only a handful of barges exist in Europe to provide LNG bunkering, with more under construction.

In the port of Madeira, local officials have overseen the supply of LNG to the AIDAperla and AIDAprima using trucks. The AIDAnova will require a much larger bunkering solution as LNG has developed from a shoreside fuel solution to now a large set of new ships coming to be propelled by the fuel, according to Valeria Mangiarotti, director of sustainability for MedCruise.

“As we supply wine, we supply LNG,” said Rui Lopes, an advisor for the port, adding the port has undertaken a comprehensive risk assessment on LNG.

Helping push the supply chain has been a European Union directive to encourage LNG supply chain development in ports. Using trucks will be a limiting factor, as the fuel requires significant storage volumes.

Around 20 percent of vessels on the 105-ship cruise ship orderbook are LNG powered.

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