Costa has become the world's first cruise fleet to receive the RINA Green Star notation for environmental excellence. RINA (the Italian Shipping Register) has surveyed Costa's ships regarding prevention of pollution of the marine environment, and according to that company, Costa's standards are higher even than those of the international MARPOL convention (which has basically set the bar for cruise lines when it comes to environmental compliance).
Beyond achieving the Green Star, two of Costa's ships were also awarded the Green Star Design notation. Costa incorporated environmental standards even higher than Green Star's into the design and construction of both CostaAtlantica and CostaMediterranea (built on nearly identical platforms as Carnival's Spirit-class ships). For instance, fuel tanks on these ships are housed behind double-hull-strength steel.
Ironically, more recent Costa new-builds such as CostaMagica and CostaFortuna were based on ship designs that preceded those of Atlantica and Mediterranea and they, as well as the under-construction CostaConcordia, were not able to have their blueprints adjusted to accommodate the extra-stringent requirements. Pier Luigi Foschi, Costa's president, said that future new-builds would be able to qualify for not only the Green Star, but also the Green Star Design notation.
At this point, RINA has only awarded its Green Star to Costa, but a company representative says other cruise lines are vying for inclusion as well. The survey process is quite lengthy and involves examining everything from record keeping to actual engineering practices.