LISBON, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Portugal's Galp Energy is expanding its marine fuel offering by supplying low-emission liquefied natural gas for ships and performed the first refuelling of a cruise ship on the island of Madeira earlier this week, it said on Thursday.
A company spokesman said the refuelling involving a ship running on LNG was the first carried out at a Portuguese port, and the first on any Atlantic island.
It expects LNG use to become mainstream in ships in the future due to stricter rules on harmful emissions.
"Galp now has the capacity to refuel ships with LNG at any port of mainland Portugal and islands and will soon also provide ship-to-ship refuelling, with added capacity and flexibility," Galp said.
The 3,300-passenger AIDAprima cruise ship, which Galp refuelled this week, is run by Carnival Corp's AIDA brand and travels weekly to the Madeira islands.
LNG powers an auxiliary motor used by the ship while at port, reducing local emissions. According to Galp, Carnival, a pioneer in cruise ship LNG use, will deploy four vessels that only use natural gas until 2020, when more restrictive marine fuels legislation comes into force.
Reporting By Andrei Khalip, editing by David Evans