The government is exploring shore-side power supply for cruise liners, in a bid to combat Malta’s serious shipping pollution problem.
With some of the world’s worst polluting cruise liners visiting Malta’s ports at an alarming rate, studies are underway to see if this straightforward solution could rectify the growing issue.
Shore-side power or “cold-ironing” allows ships to turn off their engines and plug into an electrical grid while in port.
As it stands, cruise liners, which are in effect large aquatic hotels, contribute heavily to air quality and environmental issues in the country, given they never turn off their engines once in port to operate the many amenities on the vessel.
In August, Lovin Malta looked at one thesis, written by Bjorn Cassar Simonds, a Transport Malta Maritime Section employee, which detailed the issue.
Past analysis of cruise ships that visit Malta found that they bring with them a massive 502.8 tonnes of sulphur oxide (SOx), 1.1 million kilograms of nitrogen oxide, and 80,000 kg of PM 2.5, the country’s most harmful pollutant.
Shore-side power supplies have the potential to eliminate ship engine emissions in port waters, reducing each pollutant by about 90% and greenhouse gas emissions by 50%, as well as reducing noise, vibration and engine wear-and-tear.
With Malta now fully converted to LNG power, the emissions generated to control the shore-side supply would remain relatively low.