MSC Cruises, the Swiss-based cruise ship operator, said it signed an agreement with French shipyard Chantiers de l’Atlantique for its third and fourth LNG-powered vessels.
The contract with MSC Cruises is such a boost for French shipbuilding that it was signed at the Paris office of the French Prime Minister.
The MSC “World Class” ships will be delivered in 2025 and 2027.
The first of the initial two ships in the class is currently under construction at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, Western France, and is due to enter service in 2022.
MSC said the Saint-Nazaire LNG-fueled newbuild contracts are valued at more than 2 billion euros ($2.22Bln).
The company said the order guarantees over 2,400 full-time equivalent jobs for the next three-and-a-half years.“The signatures also allows the shipyard to start working with the hundreds of suppliers and subcontractors involved in the projects, setting in motion a new cycle that will greatly benefit the French economy,” said MSC.
The first newbuild 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 percent, nitrogen-oxide emissions by 85 percent and carbon-dioxide emissions by 20 percent.
The signing ceremony took place at the Hotel Matignon, the French Prime Minister’s official residence.
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe was in attendance along with Gianluigi Aponte, the MSC Group’s Founder and Executive Chairman as well as Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’s Executive Chairman and Laurent Castaing, the General Manager of Chantiers de l’Atlantique.
A second accord saw MSC Cruises partnering with Chantiers de l’Atlantique in the development of yet another innovative prototype ship class concept. This explores opportunities that wind power and other advanced technologies could bring to passenger shipping.
MSC said the three agreements signed in Paris represented an investment in excess of 6.5bln euros ($7.3Bln) in the French economy.
“The three agreements extend our investment plan up to 2030,” said MSC’s Chairman Vago.
“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,” explained 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,” he added.
Shipyard Manager Castaing said Chantiers de l’Atlantique was really proud and happy to have built such an outstanding relationship with MSC Cruises.
“This is 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.,” said Castaing.