MSC Group’s cruise division and Chantiers de l’Atlantique celebrated the delivery of ’MSC World Europa’ earlier this week.
She is claimed to be the world’s largest LNG powered cruise ship and one of the first to incorporate fuel cell technology.
The ceremony conducted at Saint-Nazaire, France marked the next step in a long-term and successful partnership between the two companies that has resulted in the building of the most innovative and environmentally advanced cruise ship to date for MSC Cruises, the company said.
At the same time, the name of MSC Cruises’ second ‘World Class’ ship was revealed during a steel cutting ceremony. As the name suggests, ’MSC World America’ will be destined for North America when she enters service in 2025, becoming the fourth new MSC flagship to be deployed in the region.
The 215,863 gt ‘MSC World Europa’ is set to pave the way towards the uptake of carbon-neutral synthetic and other alternative, fuels as soon as they are available at scale, as well as immediate advances of emissions reductions and energy efficiency, MSC said.
Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC’s Cruise Division, said: “We are proud to welcome to our fleet ‘MSC World Europa’, our 20th ship and the first to be LNG-powered. This ground breaking vessel represents the next phase in our journey toward net zero and sustainable cruising and a symbol of our unwavering commitment to both.
“’MSC World Europa’ represents a major step forward for our Cruise Division, the entire MSC Group, and our industry, with a range of unprecedented innovations in terms of environmental and marine technologies, design and guest-centric features.
“This is the result of more than four years of work between us, builders Chantiers de l’Atlantique and numerous leading providers of next-generation environmental and maritime technologies and solutions, as well as many thousands of hours of training for those on board and at ports.
“Now, more than ever we need closer co-operation from suppliers, Governments and others to complement our continued investments and take further steps towards the zero emissions future we all desire. The innovative technologies we create here to use on our vessels can benefit all of society not just the cruise industry or the shipping sector overall,” he said.
Laurent Castaing, Chantiers de l’Atlantique General Manager, added: “We have reached a new stage in the cruise industry with ‘MSC World Europa’, the largest ship ever built for a European shipowner. She is equipped with all the latest technologies to offer the passengers an unprecedented cruising experience.
“From a technological standpoint ‘MSC World Europa’, which is equipped with an LNG propulsion system, presents a new level of performance and efficiency of the cruise industry. This represents a major milestone in minimising emissions as MSC World Europa is the least emitting ship of the entire cruise industry,” he claimed.
‘MSC World Europa’ is the world’s first contemporary cruise ship to feature solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology powered by LNG. The ship will be fitted with a 150 kW SOFC demonstrator that will use LNG to produce electricity and heat on board by means of an electrochemical reaction.
This will be a test bed to accelerate the development of fuel cell technology for contemporary cruise ships and offers a potential to enable hybrid propulsion solutions in the future, MSC said.
Linden Coppell, MSC Cruises’ Vice President of Sustainability & ESG, commented, “We anticipate SOFC will reduce emissions of greenhouse gases substantially, compared with conventional LNG engines without producing emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides or fine particles. It also has the advantage of not only being compatible with LNG, but also with low and zero carbon fuels, such as green methanol, ammonia, and hydrogen. We could also in the future transition to synthetic LNG or other alternative non-carbon fuels.”
Vago further explained, “We chose LNG for the very clear reason that it is the cleanest marine fuel currently available at scale, a transitional fuel as we look ahead to source and use synthetic LNG or other alternative non-carbon fuels as soon as they become available at scale.”
In partnership with the shipyard, ’MSC World Europa’ was designed with an innovative hull shape to minimise resistance through the water.
She also incorporates a wide range of equipment to optimise energy use throughout the ship. This includes smart ventilation and advanced air conditioning systems, with automated energy recovery loops, allowing effective distribution of heat and cold across the ship. The ship also uses LED lighting throughout, controlled by smart management systems to further enhance the energy saving profile.
Enhanced automatic data collection systems are also fitted for remote energy monitoring and advanced analysis, allowing real-time shoreside support to optimise operational efficiency on board.
‘MSC World Europa’ was designed to perform 47% better than the IMO’s mandated Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI).
She is fitted with an advanced wastewater treatment system (AWTS) that meets the world’s highest regulatory requirements, including the so-called ‘Baltic Standard’. It treats all wastewater produced on board to close to tap water standards. The ship is also fitted with a new ballast water treatment system that prevents the introduction of invasive species in the marine environment through ballast water discharges, in compliance with IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention.
Coppell added, “We have an entire team of crew dedicated to implement strict waste management protocols, which separate all wastes into seven distinct types, for example, glass, aluminium and paper, with specialised equipment to crush or bundle these waste types in the ship’s waste management facility.”
‘MSC World Europa’ also features a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system that reduces nitrogen oxide emissions by 90% when LNG is not available and the ship must run on marine gas oil. As the LNG fuel will achieve a similar reduction, the ship will always be ready to meet the IMO’s Tier III nitogen oxide emissions standards.
Like all of MSC Cruises’ newbuildings, the ship is fitted with a shore power connection capability to minimise engine use at ports where the infrastructure is available.
‘MSC World Europa’s’ hull and engine room were also designed to minimise acoustic underwater sound impact, reducing the potential impact on marine mammals in the surrounding waters.
Her design features a Y-shaped aft structure that leads to the 104 m long half-open half-covered Europa Promenade with ocean views. New balcony cabins overlook the promenade, which features an architectural centrepiece in the form of The Venom Drop @ The Spiral, an 11-deck-high slide, the longest at sea.
‘MSC World Europa’s’ cruise ship ‘firsts’ include a micro-brewery, gin bar, healthy juice bar, coffee emporium and tea house. She has 13 different dining options. including two new speciality restaurants, La Pescaderia that will offer fresh seafood and Chef’s Garden Kitchen, which will dish up seasonal farm-to-ocean cooking.
The 333.3 m long and 47 m wide ship is fitted with 2,626 pax cabins able to accommodate 6,762 pax at full capacity.
She is powered by five Wärtsilä 14V 46DF dual-fuel engines, that can run on LNG and on low sulphur marine gasoil (MGO) and is fitted with the 150 kW solid oxide fuel cell demonstrator.