The largest cruise ship in the world set off on its maiden voyage from Miami, Florida BBC. The ship embarks on a seven-day island-hopping tour of the Caribbean.
The ship, registered in the Bahamas, is owned by Royal Caribbean Group. Built at a shipyard in Turku, Finland, the 365-metre-long “Icon of the Seas” ship has 20 decks and can accommodate 7,600 passengers. The ship cost $2 billion to build and features more than 40 restaurants, bars and lounges, as well as seven pools and six water slides.
Footballer Lionel Messi also took part in the naming ceremony for the Icon of the Seas: he used a football to launch a champagne bottle towards the side of the ship, which is used to wish the ship good luck.
After the ship was delivered, environmental experts warned that the LNG-powered ship may emit methane into the air, which has a harmful effect on the atmosphere. Earlier this week, the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) published a report claiming that methane emissions from LNG-powered ships are higher than current regulations assume.
“We estimate that using LNG as a marine fuel emits 120 percent more greenhouse gases than marine diesel,” said Brian Comer, director of the International Air Transport Centre's Marine Programme. According to him, the ship is a step in the wrong direction.
Although LNG burns cleaner than traditional marine fuels such as fuel oil, there is a risk of methane being released into the atmosphere. Methane is a much more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, carrying off 80 times more heat than carbon dioxide in 20 years.
Meanwhile, according to Royal Caribbean, Icon of the Seas is 24 percent more energy efficient than what the International Maritime Organization requires for newer ships. The company plans to introduce a zero-energy vessel by 2035.