MSC Cruises and Chantiers de l’Atlantique sign contracts for two additional LNG-powered ships

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MSC Cruises and Chantiers de l’Atlantique have extended their long-term partnership with a contract signed to build two additional LNG-powered MSC World Class ships to be delivered in 2025 and 2027, bringing the total number of these ships on order to four.

The extension of the contract aligns with MSC Cruises’ sustainability strategy. Compared to standard marine fuel, the use of LNG decreases sulphur emissions and particulate matter by 99%, NOx emissions by 85%, and CO2 emissions by 20%.

The first of the initial two ships in this class ordered by MSC is currently under construction at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France, with planned entry to service in 2022. At 205,000 GT, she will become the biggest vessel operated by a European cruise line as well as the first LNG-powered cruise ship built in France.

These contracts represent a capital investment by MSC Cruises exceeding US$2.2bn (€2bn) and are expected to generate 14 million additional working hours, amounting to more than 2,400 full-time equivalent jobs for the next three and a half years directly supported by those orders. The signing of this contract also allows the shipyard to start working with the hundreds of suppliers and subcontractors involved in the projects, which is expected to benefit the French economy.

The announcement was made at a special ceremony held at the Matignon Palace, the French prime minister’s the official residence, and attended by Édouard Philippe, prime minister of France; Gianluigi Aponte, MSC Group’s founder and executive chairman; Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ executive chairman; and Laurent Castaing, Chantiers de l’Atlantique’s general manager.

MSC Cruises and Chantiers de l’Atlantique also extended their partnership over the next decade with two additional projects. First, the companies signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the development of yet a new prototype class of LNG-powered cruise ships to operate under the MSC Cruises brand. For this project, MSC Cruises, the shipyard and other partners will focus on developing emerging environmental technologies in line with IMO’s vision for 2030 and 2050. The four vessels in this new class would represent a capital investment exceeding US$4.4bn (€4 bn) and an extra 30 million working hours for the yard, the suppliers and subcontractors involved in the project.

A second MoU sees MSC Cruises partnering with Chantiers de l’Atlantique in the development of yet another innovative prototype ship class concept with which the two companies will explore opportunities that wind power and other advanced technologies could bring to passenger shipping.

Combined, the three agreements represent an investment in excess of US$7.2bn (€6.5bn) in the French economy.

“The three agreements signed today extend our investment plan up to 2030. They stem from an exceptional partnership, with Chantiers de l’Atlantique, that has already delivered 15 highly innovative cruise ships over the past two decades and will see many more vessels come to life at Saint-Nazaire’s docks in the next ten years,” says Vago. “They also confirm this industry’s commitment to environmental sustainability, in this case helping the French national industry further position itself as a world leader in the development of next-generation technologies and other solutions.”

“We are really proud and happy to have built such an outstanding relationship with MSC Cruises, based on mutual trust and driven by the spirit of innovation,” adds Castaing. “We are both committed to shaping the cruise of tomorrow and to developing ship concepts that go far beyond current environmental standards. Our companies have already been working together for twenty years and these new projects allow us to look enthusiastically to the future.”

MSC Cruises is strongly committed to achieving a zero-impact future by investing in the accelerated development of new energy solutions and environmental technologies that will allow that.

On 1 January 2020, MSC Cruises became the first major cruise line to achieve carbon-neutral fleet operations through investments carbon offset projects. The company is also focused on minimising and continuously reducing the environmental footprint of its operations.

Image: MSC Cruises

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Marisa has been writing about transport design and the passenger experience since 2013 and is also a contributor to sister titles Aircraft Interiors International and Business Jet Interiors International. She has travelled the world extensively by car, plane, train and cruise liner.

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