Earning the Green Star

10 June 2008 By Steve Knauth

How do you lessen the environmental impact of a 166-foot motor yacht that carries 25,000 gallons of fuel, runs on a pair of 1,200-hp diesel engines and might have a dozen or more people on board?

Ask the yacht that wears the Green Star.

Launched in Italy by Mondomarine just last year, M/Y Tribu is the first recreational motor yacht to receive the Green Star designation for environmental design from RINA, the Registro Italiano Navale.

RINA, one of world’s oldest classification societies (founded in 1861), created the voluntary Green Star classification to encourage designers, builders, owners and operators of commercial and recreational vessels to augment environmental awareness. It also seeks to reduce vessels’ impact on the sea, air and land environments.

The Green Star designation is awarded to ships and yachts that have met the requirements of RINA’s “Clean Sea – Clean Air” standards, which are based on Marpol Annex I, IV, V and VI requirements. It’s been awarded previously to commercial craft and companies, including Carnival Cruise Lines.

The designation process starts with the designers and the shipyard, which are held to higher environmental standards of construction and engineering, and must provide for such equipment as bilge water systems, holding tanks and recycling facilities in their designs.

But the ongoing implementation of the required environmental procedures is largely the responsibility of the captain and crew. That means more to do on board: Separating cans and bottles is just the beginning.

To help organize the work, RINA divided the tasks into Clean Sea (to prevent pollution) and Clean Air (to slow emissions) categories. Here’s a sample of what’s involved in each:

Clean Sea: Captain and crew develop procedures to prevent operational and accidental oil/fuel pollution as well as similar plans covering garbage, sewage and gray water. The crew also has to institute a water ballast management system to prevent the transport of marine life.

Clean Air: The captain should require the use of less-harmful refrigerants, bunker only low-sulphur fuel and maintain engines and generators to Marpol 73/78 Annex IV standards.

Guests may also be asked to take part in the effort, especially when it comes to recycling.

In return, the owner benefits – especially with a charter boat – by showing off the high standards of pollution prevention achieved on board his vessel. Prospective clients will be encouraged to see the vessel is doing what it can to minimize the impact on the environment. Crew benefit by knowing that their contributions not only are recognized in the short term with the Green Star, but they can take pride in the overall positive example they provide for others.

Tribu is an Italian-flagged, steel-and-aluminum expedition yacht built for Luciano Benetton, designed by Mondomarine and Sydac with the interior the work of Studio Lissmi. The pioneering designation is “[a token] of the maturity of environmental consciousness” among yacht owners, such as Luciano Benneton, who willingly choose systems and solutions that have a minimal impact on the environment, said Ugo Salerno, RINA’s CEO. “[It’s] a desirable change of mind.”

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For more information on RINA’s Green Star program visit: