At the end of October, the MS Oasis of the Seas was launched in Finland. It is the world’s largest cruise ship, 360 metres long, with capacity for 6,296 passengers. In November of next year, a second ship of the same class is expected to be launched: the MS Allure of the Seas. The ship is powered by three 13.9 megawatt (MW) engines and three 18.5 MW engines, with propulsion from three 20 MW Azipods.
I cannot help but think that if the advocates of the peak oil hypothesis are correct, these vessels will end up being viewed as the height of fossil-driven folly. The ship is also a reminder of how international waters remain the part of the planet with the most lax environmental standards, whether the pollutant in question is sulphur dioxide, carbon dioxide, or anything else. Indeed, large oceangoing vessels generally need to carry two types of fuel: one that is legal for use in the domestic waters of states with air pollution laws, and another that can only be used on the open ocean.