Maiden Voyage of Luxury Ship Highlights Environmental Challenges
The cruise ship Silver Nova will arrive in New York City on her maiden voyage tomorrow, Friday, November 17. The brand new, 728-passenger ship (served by a crew of 556) will glide under the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge around 6am and up the Hudson River to be at her berth at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal by 7am.
Joining a new wave of cruise ships fitted with environmentally friendly technology, Silver Nova is the first Silversea vessel to be powered by LNG (liquified natural gas), which greatly reduces emissions. While ship also has the ability to plug into electrical power (and turn off its engines) at the dock, the Manhattan Cruise Terminal—the fourth busiest cruise terminal in the country—does not offer access to the City’s electrical grid. The Brooklyn Cruise Terminal has offered shore power since 2017, but even so, only 50 percent of the ships docking at the Red Hook terminal are able to turn off their idling diesel engines and connect to the electrical grid.
Six weeks ago, the NYC Economic Development Corporation, which manages the Manhattan and Brooklyn Cruise Terminals, announced plans to retrofit the Manhattan docks with electrical power. Construction will begin next year. As part of this plan, the EDC has formed agreements with cruise ship companies mandating that all ships visiting New York will connect to the electrical grid by 2028. Local Community Boards and City Council members are pushing for a faster timeline.
“Every day that a ship docks at port and remains unplugged releases the equivalent of 34,000 tractor-trailers burning fuel,” said Council member Alexa Aviles at a rally on September 18. She is cosponsoring a bill with Council member Erik Bottcher to require cruise ships to turn off engines while docked and connect to electrical power.
Back to Silver Nova: if you stay up late on Saturday, downtowners can catch a second glimpse of the handsome vessel as she departs for Puerto Rico by way of Norfolk and Bermuda. She’ll slip past Lower Manhattan some time after 11pm on November 18, a luminous palace in motion.