MSC Cruises and Chantiers de l’Atlantique have signed firm contracts for the construction of MSC Cruises’ third and fourth LNG-powered MSC World Class ships, to be delivered in 2025 and 2027, while two additional newbuild projects will focus on the development and utilisation of next-generation environmental technologies. These contracts represent a total capital investment by MSC Cruises exceeding €6.5 billion.
The first of the initial two World Class ships is currently under construction at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire and is due to enter service in 2022. With 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. Compared to standard marine fuel, LNG decreases sulphur emissions and particulate matter by 99%, NOx emissions by 85%, and CO2 emissions by 20%.
For the first of the two additional projects, the companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the development of yet a new prototype class of LNG-powered cruise ships to operate under the MSC Cruises brand. The four vessels in this new class will represent a capital investment exceeding €4 billion.
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 they will explore opportunities that wind power and other advanced technologies could bring to passenger shipping.
Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman, MSC Cruises, said: “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 10 years. 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.”
Laurent Castaing, General Manager, Chantiers de l’Atlantique, said: “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. We are both committed to shaping the cruise of tomorrow and to developing ship concepts which go far beyond current environmental standards. Our companies have already been working together for 20 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. As today’s most advanced environmental technology alone is insufficient to reach that, while it works to minimise and continuously reduce its environmental footprint, MSC Cruises is offsetting all CO2 emissions from its fleet that it is not possible to abate through such technology through a blend of high standard carbon offset projects.