By Ishita Srivastava For Dailymail.Com
03:03 28 Jan 2024, updated 05:19 28 Jan 2024
- The Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas set sail today on a seven-day island-hopping voyage in the Caribbean before returning to Miami
- Despite claims that the LNG being used is better than traditional marine fuel, environmentalists believe the ship poses high risks for methane emissions
- Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas and is the second-largest contributor to climate warming after carbon dioxide
The world’s largest cruise ship has begun its seven-day maiden voyage from Port Miami – carrying nearly the population of a small city onboard.
The Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas set sail today on a seven-day island-hopping voyage in the Caribbean before returning to Miami.
The $2 billion ship runs nearly 1,200 feet (365 meters) from bow to stern and has 20 decks, 2,350 crew, 2,805 staterooms along with room for 7,600 passengers.
Apart from this, the ship also boasts a 55ft artificial waterfall, 40 dining venues and bars, seven swimming pools including a 40,000-gallon ‘lake’, 50 musicians and comedians as well as a 16-piece orchestra.
The ship is powered by ‘eco-friendly Liquefied Natural Gas’. According to Reuters, the Royal Caribbean said the Icon is 24 percent more efficient when it comes to carbon emissions than required by the International Maritime Organization.
Royal Caribbean also said every kilowatt used on the Icon of the Seas ‘is scrutinized for energy efficiencies and emission reductions.’
But despite claims that the fuel is better than traditional marine fuel, environmentalists believe the ship poses high risks for methane emissions.
According to the the International Council of Clean Transportation, methane emissions from LNG-fueled ships in the form of ‘methane slip’ contribute to climate change.
Methane slips occur when ships such as the Icon use low-pressure, dual-fuel engines that tend to leak methane into the atmosphere during the combustion process.
Bryan Comer, director of the Marine Program at the ICCT explained: ‘It’s a step in the wrong direction.
‘We would estimate that using LNG as a marine fuel emits over 120% more life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions than marine gas oil.’
Cruise ship engines have an estimated methane slip of 6.4 percent on average, according to 2024 research funded by the ICCT, which is higher than IMO’s assumption at 3.5 percent.
Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas and is the second-largest contributor to climate warming after carbon dioxide, according to the NASA Global Climate Change website.
An estimated 60% of today’s methane emissions are the result of human activities.
But these concerns do not seem to bother owners as the Icon is set to sail Caribbean voyages throughout the year from Miami, with the itineraries featuring ‘idyllic destinations’ and stops at ‘award-winning private island’ Perfect Day at CocoCay in The Bahamas.
Messi was the headliner at the event, placing a soccer ball atop a stand to ‘start’ the traditional breaking of a champagne bottle against the bow of the ship – something that is supposed to bring good luck to the vessel and its passengers.
The 36-year-old, Argentine later called it a ‘privilege.’
‘It’s a great honor for me and I know what it means for the city of Miami and the entire world,’ Messi said in Spanish. ‘So, I name this ship Icon of the Seas. God bless you and all of the people who will sail with her.’
Michael Bayley, the Royal Caribbean International President and CEO added: ‘We built the biggest, baddest ship on the planet. It’s really exciting when you introduce a new class of ship, but it’s even most excited when it seems to be really spot on.’