Viking Line’s newbuilding, which will be delivered in January 2013, will be a milestone from an environmental standpoint. The Viking Grace has already attracted global attention, since she will be the world’s first large passenger vessel to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG). The cleanest fossil fuel available today, LNG provides major environmental advantages.
Viking Line has systematically planned the construction of the Viking Grace in a ways that will enable the use of cutting-edge technology to achieve a cleaner environment, in accordance with sustainable development principles. The company has endeavoured to find optimal environmental solutions in all areas.
Hydrodynamic hull minimizes swells
The Viking Grace has a hydrodynamically optimized hull shape and highly efficient drive technology that saves energy. Extensive development work has been devoted to the hull shape, which minimizes swell waves. In day-to-day operations on board the vessel, recycling and resource optimization will be guiding principles.
"The marine environment in our archipelagos is as enchanting for holidaying families as it has always been, but we have realized that we should take greater responsibility for the environment. The environmental risks and threats that affect the Baltic, as an inland sea, are well known among today’s travellers. Our customers have a right to demand that what we do is more sustainable in a long-term perspective. We are very pleased that we can offer customers a more environmentally friendly alternative on our ferry service between Finland and Sweden," says Captain Henrik Grönvik, commanding officer of the Viking Grace.
The Viking Grace is being built in compliance with the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships 2009, which is monitored by the maritime classification society Lloyd’s Register. The rules of the Convention cover the entire life cycle of a vessel as well as the management at recycling facilities of hazardous materials/substances in particular.
LNG radically reduces emissions
As a fuel, liquefied natural gas (LNG) is globally unique in a passenger vessel of the Viking Grace’s size. Natural gas creates substantially less hazardous emissions. Nitrogen emissions and particulates are reduced by 85 per cent and greenhouse gases by 15 per cent. Sulphur emissions are practically zero. LNG is stored in low-pressure tanks, which are double-mantled and located outdoors at the rear of the vessel. They are filled from an LNG supply ship. The natural gas that is delivered has been cooled down to -162 degrees Celsius and is in liquid form; its volume is thus 600 times smaller than in gaseous form. Natural gas is lighter than air, and in case of any leakage outdoors it is automatically ventilated away. The gas pipes are double-mantled, which means that no gas is emitted into the engine room in case of any leakage.
The environment a high priority on board
Thanks to cutting-edge technological and operational solutions, it has been possible to prioritize environmental aspects in order to achieve both environmental and cost savings. The task of optimizing resources occurs in all departments on the Viking Grace. This includes:
• Energy consumption that minimizes atmospheric emissions
• Water consumption aimed at minimizing the quantity of wastewater
• Waste management to minimize the quantity of waste as well as to recycle or sort waste
• Using chemicals in ways that reduce the number of products as much as possible and employing correct dosages (environmentally friendly alternatives are prioritized)
• Avoiding disposable (single-use) products or those with short service lives As on Viking Line’s other vessels, all wastewater is pumped ashore. Toxic paints are not used on the bottom of the vessel; instead the hull will be cleaned manually several times per year by divers.
Specially designed refuse stations with sorting compartments are located in the stairwells next to the cabin departments. On-board employees’ workwear and a number of items in the cabins and elsewhere have been designed by Touchpoint Oy, a Finnish-based company that works towards sustainable development.
"One of our cornerstones at TouchPoint is to develop products and services that stand for what is good and right. We bring together design and responsible manufacturing, where a well-functioning and controlled production chain is combined with humane considerations. The result should communicate the values our customers stand for and reinforce their brands. We are convinced that ecologically designed products with a high ethical value will benefit the end-user and lead to economic advantages," says Carita Peltonen, Sales and Marketing Manager at Touchpoint Oy.
Environmental considerations in restaurants and kitchens
The vessel’s restaurants will not use disposable receptacles and will minimize their use of disposable packaging. Milk will be served in pitchers, sugar in casters etc. Glass, cardboard, plastic, metals, aluminium, food waste and office paper will be sorted. Instead of serving bottled water, the restaurants will use their own carbonated and filtered water in bottles that are recycled.
Kitchen equipment will employ a Galley Energy Management (GEM) system, resulting in energy savings of around 20 per cent compared to conventional equipment. The Viking Grace is the first vessel in the world that will utilize this system. Locally produced food will be prioritized when menus are planned. In food procurement, the aim will be to use the least possible packaging. Food waste will be separated and brought ashore to be turned into biogas and compost. Used cooking oil will be recycled.
The vessel’s hotel, spa and conference operations
Cleaning routines will be a large-scale activity on board. Instructions to cleaning staff will not only explain that the use of chemicals and water but also the use of lighting and air conditioning should take place in an environmentally economic way. Steam cleaning machines will save both water and detergent. The cabins will feature water-conserving showers and faucets, low-flush toilets and waterless urinals. Cabins will be equipped with Philips TV sets made according to the EcoDesign principle (lower weight, more efficient packaging and better recycling properties). The conference department will also follow the company’s general environmental policy by endeavouring to employ recyclable materials as much as possible in the equipment that is used. In the spa department, heating of sauna units and pool water will employ the best energy-conserving technology. Showers will use water-saving mouthpieces. Spa treatment products will be organic. Entertainment, audiovisual technology and the tax-free shop Here too, it is important to ensure environmentally optimal use of energy, water and chemicals. Instead of being paper-based, cruise programmes will be displayed on IP-TV sets and on monitors. All lighting for entertainment activities will employ light-emitting diode (LED) technology. The electricity consumption of LED spotlights is a fraction of what ordinary spotlights use. The duty- and tax-free department will sort cardboard, plastic and paper for binding together using a baling press. Refrigeration equipment will be energy-efficient. The duty- and tax-free shop will sell many products from companies with green values. Such new items among cosmetics include Korres (www.korres.com) and Yes to Carrots (www.yestocarrots.com). Weleda, Ren, Nuxe and Björk & Berries are environmentally conscious brands that have already been featured by Viking Line for some years. One new clothing brand is PEOPLE TREE, which will only be sold on the Viking Grace (www.peopletree.co.uk). Finnish-based Costo (www.costo.fi) uses recycled textiles in its products, which are otherwise already available on Viking Line vessels.