(12:14 p.m. EST) -- Norwegian Cruise Line will install scrubbing technology on six ships, continuing a green initiative that began last year with Hawaii-based Pride of America.
The line had previously announced its two new builds, Norwegian Escape and Norwegian Bliss would have the scrubbers, as well.
Scrubbers are devices that reduce sulfur emissions from cruise ships. They allow ships to continue operating on less expensive, heavy fuel, rather than the more expensive low-sulfur fuel that will be required by the EPA beginning in 2015. The new 0.1 percent sulfur limit will apply to all cruise ships sailing in Emission Control Areas -- 200 nautical miles bordering the U.S. and Canadian coasts.
Beginning this spring, a total of 28 scrubbers developed by Green Tech Marine will be installed on Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Jewel, Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Sun, a process that will continue through 2016.
"We remain committed to environmental protection at Norwegian Cruise Line," said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian's chief executive officer. "Therefore, it is important for us to invest in new technologies, such as Green Tech's innovative scrubber systems, in order to reduce fuel emissions, overall energy consumption and the company's environmental footprint."
With less than a year to prepare for the new regulations, many cruise lines have been investing time and money in scrubbing technology, although its effectiveness over time has not yet been proven.
--By Gina Kramer, Associate Editor