December 18, 2000
Anyone who’s ever seen cruise ships idling in port whilst belching black smoke into pristine Alaskan or Caribbean skies will appreciate this good news: the new Carnival Spirit will be out fitted with the industry’s first-ever smokeless diesel engines. The ship, due to launch in late spring, will initially sail a series of itineraries in Hawaii, the Panama Canal and Alaska. Maybe this means Carnival won’t have to shut down the Spirit in Juneau; a few months ago, Alaska’s governor announced that ships would be required to turn off engines while in port. Regardless, the new smokeless diesel engines -- which will comprise just two of Spirit’s six -- are part of a diesel-electric propulsion system that was developed in conjunction with Wärtsila Corporation, the Finnish marine power systems supplier. The two Wärtsilä 46 EnviroEngines use a common rail fuel injection system which enables injection pressures to be kept sufficiently high at all engine speeds - even at the lowest levels - to ensure clean combustion with no visible smoke emissions. Carnival says that the new, environmentally-friendly engine will be used for other vessels in its fleet as well as in sister cruise lines like Holland America and Costa. In addition, it plans at some undetermined point to refit some ships’ existing engines by replacing the current fuel injection pumps with common rail components.