La Spezia successfully carried out the first LNG refuelling in Italy. The Costa Smeralda refuels with Liquid Natural Gas

LNG refuelling of the Costa Smeralda created a partnership with the Coast Guard, the Port Authority for the Eastern Ligurian Sea, Shell and the Costa Group. This is the first refuelling in Italy for a cruise ship and the 50th successfully completed by the Costa Group.

29 October 2020 | by Redazione

The port and ship are Italian and mark a new milestone in the industry. The Costa Smeralda, the first ship to run on liquid natural gas (LNG) by Costa Cruises,  successfully completed, on Sunday 25 October, in the port of La Spezia, its first LNG refuelling – which is the first for  a cruise ship in Italy.

The operation, completed at 6pm, was made possible thanks to the support of the Coast Guard, the Port Authority for the Eastern Ligurian Sea, by Shell, supply partner of LNG for the Costa Group and of its “mother company”, the Carnival Corporation, and a work group made up of the City of La Spezia, the provincial command of the Fire Brigade, Arpal Liguria, Asl Liguria, Agenzia dei monopoli e delle dogane, The National Association of Chemists in the port, the Technical Nautical services of the port of La Spezia, Snam Panigaglia and the trade unions.

The refuelling was carried out safely, in full respect of the regulations written specifically by the Coast Guard together with a team made up of local organisations and operators. The Costa Smeralda was docked as usual at Molo Garibaldi, while the tanker, the Coral Methane, positioned itself alongside the Costa Smeralda, with the bow facing the same direction. The Coast Guard supervised the entire operation, which was carried out with the coordination of all involved parties and the crews of the Costa Smeralda and the Coral Methane.

We are happy – explained Franco Porcellacchia, sustainable innovation and infrastructure development vice president of the Costa Group – that our LNG flagship, the Costa Smeralda has been a part of this very important operation for the maritime industry in Italy and for the port of La Spezia. Carnival Corporation and Costa were the first to invest in sustainable innovation, looking to LNG technology for cruise ships, which is a part of the larger effort to guarantee the highest environmental standards for an ever more sustainable future for cruise ships.”

The LNG refuelling carried out in La Spezia was the 50th bunkering operation successfully carried out for a ship belonging to the Costa Group.

The objective of the team – notes Giovanni Stella, commander of the Port Authority of La Spezia – was to adopt adequate safety measures and procedures to guarantee the highest safety standards, starting with those connected to navigation, environmental protection and fire prevention, as well as work place safety. Thanks to this positive experience, we believe that other maritime authorities can adopt the regulations we have defined so as to increase the number of refuelling points in Italian ports, as indicated in Italian and European provisions.

The Costa Smeralda is the first ship run on LNG in the Costa fleet, to be followed by her sister ship, the Costa Toscana, who is planned for delivery in the last trimester of 2021. Another LNG ship, AIDAnova, has already been working in the Costa Group since 2018. Another two twin ships of the AIDAnova will take service by 2023.

Regarding the rest of the Carnival Corporation Group, a third LNG vessel was delivered, the Iona for P&O Cruises UK. The use of liquid natural gas, currently the most advanced propulsion technology in order to reduce ship emissions, will nearly completely eliminate sulphur dioxide emissions (zero emission) and particulates (95-100% reduction), also significantly reducing nitrogen dioxide (85% direct reduction) and of CO2 (up to 20% reduction).


Giuseppe Orrù



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