Holland America Line’s Environmental Commitment
At Holland America Line, cruising is our passion. We are equally passionate about protecting and preserving the pristine destinations that we visit. For many years we have emphasized environmental stewardship and conservation in our operations. Today, our environmental initiatives positively affect the lives of guests, staff and the inhabitants of the many regions visited by our cruises and tours.
All of our business decisions are made on the basis of certain fundamental principles. Ensuring safety and protecting the environment are two of the most important of these principles. Whenever we act or choose not to act, we need to ask ourselves whether doing so will maintain safety and prevent damage to the environment. This philosophy underlies our Safety and Environmental Policy. As stated in the policy:
Safeguarding our guests, crews, ships and the environment in which we live and operate is not only the right thing to do, it is essential to the successful conduct of our business.
President and Chief Executive Officer
We take care of the Planet
Our five star ships are as environmentally sound as they are beautiful. Here are just a few of our environmental efforts:
Environmental Management System: All of our ships are ISO 14001 certified by Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance (LRQA).
Environmental Officers: Stationed onboard every ship to provide environmental training and oversee shipboard compliance with environmental requirements.
Advanced Waste Water Purification Systems: These systems treat wastewater to a higher quality than most municipal treatment systems and the discharge is clean enough to meet the drinking water standards in many communities.
Shore Power: The Noordam, Westerdam, Oosterdam and Amsterdam have been modified to connect to shore power in Seattle and where compatible facilities are available.
Cleaning Supplies: All ships use cleaning products specifically designed for environmentally friendly application onboard ships.
Waste Management and Recycling: All ships have waste and recycling programs that address bottles, cans, paper, cardboard, plastic, solid and hazardous waste.
Dry Cleaning Machines: Perchloroethylene based dry cleaning equipment is being replaced by machines using non-hazardous detergents formulated with soy, banana and orange extracts.
X-ray Facilities: Digital technology has been implemented onboard to eliminate the chemicals used by traditional x-ray machines.
Soy Inks: All onboard materials are printed with environmentally friendly soy based ink.
Water Conservation: All staterooms have low flow systems for toilets and showers installed.
Ship to Shelter Donation Program: Rather than being thrown away, unneeded beds, furniture, electronics, linens, individual-sized toiletries and other items from our ships are donated around the world to worthy charitable organizations.
Our activities to protect the environment have not gone un-noticed by others. We have recently won the following environmental honors:
Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards, 2008: first place award, Best Cruise or Ferry Operator
Porthole Cruise Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards, 2008: first place award, Most Eco-Friendly Cruise Line
Kuoni Green Planet Award: The Noordam, Oosterdam and Westerdam each won a Green Planet Award in 2006 from this Swiss travel company.
Porthole Cruise Magazine: In 2006, we were recognized as “Best Eco-Friendly Cruise Line.”
NOAA Conservation Partnership Award: Presented to Holland America Line in 2006 for our Whale Strike Avoidance training program.
Guest Invitation to Environmental Excellence
We invite and encourage all of our guests to assist us as we work to protect the environment both on board and ashore. You can make a difference on your cruise and land tour in the following ways:
Guest Presentations: We invite you to attend one of our Environmental Stewardship presentations given every cruise by the ship’s Environmental Officer. On cruises to Alaska and Antarctica, we also offer you the opportunity to attend a variety of other environmental and ecological presentations given by one of our onboard enrichment speakers.
Towel Re-Use Option: Similar to many fine hotels ashore, you can signal your cabin steward of your desire for fresh towels simply by leaving them on the floor. If you would like to re-use your towel, simply hang it on the bathroom door or towel rack to let the cabin steward know your intentions. This helps the environment by reducing energy, water and detergents required for daily washings.
Turn Off Cabin Lights and TV When Not in Use: As when ashore, energy conservation goes a long way to helping us protect the environment.
Close Exterior Doors: Guests can help maintain interior temperatures and humidity while conserving energy and helping protect the environment by assuring that exterior doors in both public and cabin spaces are not left open un-necessarily
No Garbage Overboard: Please do not throw anything overboard. Trash receptacles and ash trays are provided on all open decks for your use.
Use the Proper Waste Container: We have placed waste containers for paper, aluminum cans and garbage throughout the vessel. Using the right container goes a long way to helping assure it is properly and efficiently managed.
Protect Wildlife: Do not disturb or feed birds and other wildlife. Do not touch or handle coral reefs when SCUBA diving or snorkeling.
No Litter Ashore: Please do not leave trash on beaches. Use trash receptacles ashore or carry it back onboard with you.
Using New Technology to Reduce Hazardous Materials
Holland America Line is actively seeking to reduce both the quantity and toxicity of hazardous materials used on board. For example, perchloroethylene based dry cleaning machines are being replaced with soy, orange and banana oil based “wet cleaning” machines. Also, on board x-ray facilities have been converted to digital technology, which will further reduce the use and disposal of hazardous materials. Onboard photo labs are equipped with a silver recovery system that removes the silver content from spent photo-chemicals, allowing both the silver and the spent chemicals to be further treated or recycled. Ships are also transitioning to digital photography equipment as that technology becomes more widespread among guests.
When chemical wastes need to be disposed of, all such materials are landed ashore for disposal in strict compliance with shoreside regulations. Management and disposal are tracked using an innovative computerized tracking system. Every opportunity for recycling or reuse is explored to minimize wasting of materials.
Inviting Our Guests to Participate: Environmental Awareness & Stewardship
In addition to our environmental onboard enrichment programs, Holland America Line guests are invited to view Holland America Line’s environmental stewardship video while onboard. Presented by the Environmental Officer, this 20 minute video describes our environmental protection practices, and is followed by a question and answer period with the audience.
Ships traveling to Alaska and Antarctica also have special presentations for guests to ensure their sensitivity to the special environmental conditions that exist in those regions.
Holland America Line invites guests to participate in its onboard environmental programs. In addition to stationing segregated waste containers throughout the vessel, guests are encouraged to reuse bath towels thus reducing the amount of water and laundry chemicals consumed and disposed by the laundry.
Bringing it all Together
It is only with this combination of people, policies, procedures, and technology that Holland America Line is able to achieve the outstanding environmental results. It is all part of commitment to excellence in everything the company does, and it is this commitment that challenges Holland America Line to do even better in the future.
Holland America Line Seagoing Environmental Innovation
A true innovator when it comes to seagoing environmental protection, Holland America Line pioneered the use of “cascade bilge-water treatment systems.” Bilge water is the engine maintenance run off and condensation that collects in the ship’s bilge. Enhanced maintenance practices also serve to minimize generation of bilge water. The oily bilge water that is generated is treated by two separate systems before being discharged overboard in conformance with international, state or local requirements.
The waste stream with perhaps the greatest potential environmental impact is sewage, also called black water. Black water comes from toilets and from the drains and sinks of the infirmary. All vessels are equipped with certified Marine Sanitation Devices meeting the specification of international and U.S. Coast Guard requirements. In fact, all of Holland America Line’s ships are fitted with Advanced Waste Water Purification Systems that treat the blackwater with state of the art Reverse Osmosis and Bioreactor technology. These systems employ a series of filters and disinfecting steps to treat the black water before discharge to the sea. The resulting effluent exceeds the quality of most municipal treatment systems, and is clean enough to meet the drinking water standards in many communities ashore.
In the realm of engine emissions, Holland America Line is stepping to the forefront in exploring new technologies as well. Vista-class cruise ships ms Westerdam, ms Oosterdam and ms Noordam, along with flagship ms Amsterdam, have been modified to connect to shore power at the Port of Seattle to reduce both fuel consumption and air emissions. Holland America Line will buy and use electricity (“shore power”) provided by Seattle City Light, instead of burning ship-board fuels for power while stationed in Seattle.
Seawater Scrubber Pilot Program
A sea water scrubber has been installed onboard ms Zaandam. If successful, such scrubbers will reduce SOx emissions as well as particulate matter. This feasibility study is being performed in cooperation with local regulatory agencies, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Environment Canada and other local agencies.
These technology solutions are in addition to monitoring and operating practices we employ to minimize emissions. HAL takes numerous steps to decrease consumption of heavy fuel oil and the resultant engine emissions:
*Revising itineraries to take advantage of shorter routes and/or natural tides and currents to assist us in getting to our destinations on time
*Applying special silicon paint to the hulls of our ships to reduce drag and improve hydronamic efficiency
*Putting a film on windows to reduce heat from the sun thus minimizing the load on air conditioning units
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Holland America Line takes many measures to minimize or reduce solid waste volumes. Approximately 8 tons of garbage are collected on board each ship during a seven day cruise. Holland America Line employs many “best practices” to help minimize and manage this waste.
When purchasing products and material for use on vessels, Holland America Line takes an aggressive approach to ordering the right quantities, and to minimize the use of packaging, especially plastics. For example, the ships use paper or washable cups, wooden stirrers, paper bags and glass or metal packaging whenever possible. To further reduce plastic packaging, Holland America Line has installed bulk dispensers for individual condiments and cream. Holland America Line buys products manufactured from or packaged in recycling packaging. Printed matter is on recycled paper when available.
Cleaning products are selected to be environmentally friendly while providing the most effective sanitation program available. In addition, bulk formulators and dispensing systems have been installed to dramatically reduce the generation of packing and container waste. These products not only get the job done, but are compatible with our advanced waste water treatment systems to complement that technology.
Holland America Line has a strict protocol for garbage handling. All crew members are trained to use products fully, reuse when possible, and to sort garbage properly when disposing of material. All ships also have crewmembers that are especially trained and responsible for final sorting, processing, storing, recycling and disposal.
Each Holland America ship generates approximately eight tons of refuse, on average, during a 7-day cruise. This waste is carefully separated and processed. Each ship is equipped with various types of processing equipment, such as a mulcher, grinder, glass breaker, densifier, baler and incinerator. Waste is processed for onboard storage,land disposal or recycling. Glass is ground into small fragments and paper is baled or burned. Food waste may be ground and incinerated, discharged at sea, or saved for shore disposal, depending on the location of the ship. All plastic is saved for shore disposal.
All garbage is first separated into categories: food waste, glass, cans, paper, cardboard, cooking oil and wooden pallets. Everything that can be recycled is sent ashore for recycling, depending on the available shore-side facilities. All other waste is disposed of in a way that meets or exceeds international, national or local requirements. As a result of these practices, Holland America Line has significantly reduced the volume of solid wastes generated.
Environmental Management and ISO 14001 Certification
In June 2006, Holland America Line’s Environmental Management System was certified to conform to the ISO 14001 standard by an independent registrar – Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance. The Environmental Management System is the collection of all of environmental policies, training and procedures for every shipboard significant environmental aspect.
This certification recognizes Holland America Line’s robust environmental standards, commitment to continual improvement and policy to prevent pollution. Success in achieving ISO 14001 certification is an important demonstration to guests, employees, stakeholders, and the communities in which Holland America Line sails, that we are responsible stewards of the environment.
Holland America Lines Environmental Management System requires an Environmental Officer on board each ship to provide environmental training and to oversee shipboard compliance with environmental laws, regulations, industry standards and company policies. The Environmental Officer reports directly to the ship’s Master. Each ship in the fleet is further monitored and evaluated by aggressive environmental audit programs.
All crew members receive basic environmental training to assure they know the requirements and procedures necessary to protect the environment. Those with additional responsibilities receive further environmental training specific to their jobs. Every aspect of vessel operations, from the food preparation and hotel operations, to the navigation and ship operations on the bridge, to the engineering and maintenance activities in the engine room, are performed in a manner to minimize the impact on the environment while assuring a safe, comfortable and satisfying experience for guests.
Lastly, corporate headquarters has an Environmental Compliance Programs department that provides training and guidance to the fleet. The Vice President of this department reports directly to the President and CEO.