IMO Regulations

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Holds Media Call to Outline Industry Approach to New IMO Regulations


Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the leading voice for the global cruise industry, held a media call on Tuesday, 28 January to outline the ways in which the cruise industry was prepared to meet the IMO’s new 2020 requirements, which went into effect 1 January 2020.

CLIA experts Brian Salerno, Senior Vice President for Maritime Policy, and Donnie Brown, Vice President for Maritime Policy, also elaborated on the progress that the cruise industry has made going beyond the requirements of IMO 2020 and where the industry is headed in the future.

“As part of the cruise industry’s ongoing leadership and commitment to environmental stewardship, the CLIA cruise fleet was prepared to meet or exceed the IMO’s new requirements when they went into effect on January 1st,” said Salerno. “More importantly, the industry is looking well beyond 2020—and is committed to pursuing resources and funding to identify new fuel sources and technologies, with the ultimate goal of achieving a zero-carbon fleet.” 

Key points outlined during the call include the following:

  • The new requirements set forth by IMO 2020, which went into effect on 1 January, lower the amount of allowable sulfur content in ship emissions from 3.5% to 0.5%.
  • There are three primary means by which the cruise industry has taken steps to meet the IMO’s new requirements, including the use of EGCS technologies, LNG fuel and compliant fuel.
    • Compliant Fuel: Fuel oil with a sulfur content at or below 0.5% is used in order to curtail pollutants in engine exhaust emissions. In designated Emission Control Areas, the sulfur content is further limited to no more than 0.1%. Ships must use compliant fuel, or an approved alternative that achieves the same beneficial results.
    • EGCSs process emissions from ships to almost completely remove sulfur content and significantly reduce particulate matter found in exhaust; these systems have been found by multiple studies to be safe for the marine environment when operated in open-loop mode.
    • LNG fuel has virtually zero sulfur emissions; currently two ships within the CLIA ocean going cruise fleet use LNG for primary propulsion, with 25 more that are currently under construction or on the order books.
  • The choice of which approach to take is made by individual companies based on a variety of factors, however all three approaches are in line with the IMO’s new requirements.
  • The cruise industry was ready to meet the new requirements in advance of 1 January 2020 and is already turning its focus to the identification and development of new technologies and clean energy sources to further reduce its environmental impact.
  • The cruise industry recognizes that a robust research and development effort is necessary to ultimately achieve the IMO’s goal of zero-carbon emissions across the maritime fleet.
  • That is why CLIA joined an array of partner associations in the maritime sector to put forth a proposal to the IMO to fund and establish an R&D Board dedicated to working collaboratively across the sector to identify the technologies and energy sources that will enable us to reach that goal. The initiative would be funded by contributions from the industry to generate roughly $5B over 10 years.
  • CLIA members are also exploring additional opportunities to lessen their environmental impact, including the use of shoreside power (where clean energy is available), fuel-cell technology, battery and wind power.

A full recording of the call will be posted on CLIA’s website on 29 January, along with a full set of FAQs concerning IMO 2020 and the cruise industry’s leadership in the effort to reduce maritime emissions.

For questions or to learn more, please visit or email Bari Golin-Blaugrund at

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