ST. PETERSBURG — Carnival said Thursday it was spending about $400 million to clean up the air pollution from the massive diesel engines it uses to power more than 70 cruise ships.
The company said it had decided to invest more money and put the technology in more ships than initially planned. Last year, Carnival said it would deploy scrubbers to reduce sulfur dioxide and use filters to trap soot on as many as 32 ships over the next three years as part of an agreement reached with the Environmental Protection Agency.
Emissions from oceangoing vessels had largely been unregulated, but in 2010, the International Maritime Organization, at the EPA’s request, created buffer zones along U.S. coasts requiring foreign-flagged ships to reduce pollution.
Carnival Corp. spokesman Tom Dow the technology will be in about 70 percent of its fleet.
“We are more than doubling the number of ships that are going to get these installations,” he said. “This is based on our confidence coming out of the first projects we’ve had installing the technology.”
Scrubbers have been in power plants for decades and diesel trucks and cars have long used filters to reduce the soot from exhausts.
At port, the ships will plug into the electrical grid, rather than idle, or use a lower sulfur fuel.
Dow said that cruise ship passengers won’t notice the new technology because it will be inside the engine room.
Carnival executives say prices won’t be affected by the scrubbers.