MSC’s Explora Journeys increases ship orders

2022-07-13T17:24:45+00:00 July 13th, 2022|Ships|

Explora Journeys, the luxury travel brand of the Cruise Division of MSC Group, has signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Fincantieri two build another two hydrogen-powered luxury cruise ships.

Once delivered, this will bring Explora’s total fleet up to six vessels.

‘Explora V’ and ‘VI’ will feature a new generation of LNG- fuelled engines that will tackle the issue of methane slip and will also be equipped with industry first environmental technologies and solutions, including a containment system for liquid hydrogen, the companies claimed.

Hydrogen fuel will power a 6 MW fuel cell to reduce emissions for the hotel operations and allow the vessels to run on ‘zero emissions’ in port, when the engines are idle.

The two newbuildings will enter into service in 2027 and 2028, respectively.

Explora Journeys also said that the previously announced vessels ‘Explora III’ and ‘IV’ will now be powered by LNG. They will be lengthened by 19 m to enable the installation of a new propulsion system based on LNG and hydrogen as a fuel.

This has provided an opportunity to enhance the mix of suites with an increased number of ocean residences and larger public spaces, the companies said.

Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of the Cruise Division of MSC Group, said: “Explora Journeys is building ships for tomorrow, utilising today’s latest technologies and being ready to adapt to alternative energy solutions as they become available.

“The announcement marks another significant step forward in our goal as a business to reach net zero emissions by 2050 across all our cruise operation for the two brands and a further proof of our commitment to invest in the most advanced marine environmental technologies available to develop sustainable solutions for the future.

“This transition to zero emissions operations for the maritime industry is the biggest challenge that we will ever face, and this will only be achieved by everyone playing their part – by investing in research and development and through significant investment both by companies but also governments,” he said.

The two additional ships will bring Explora Journeys’ investment to €3.5 bill. This includes an additional €120 mill each for fitting ‘Explora III’ and ‘IV’ with LNG engines, a change that required a temporary halt to construction work, due to the ships’ significant redesign.

They will now be delivered in 2026 and 2027, respectively.

Michael Ungerer, Explora Journeys CEO (pictured), added:These bold moves to amend our construction plans, make significant additional investment in current orders and confirm orders for two more vessels with new technology despite the economic environment are something only a family company can do.

“This also demonstrates unequivocally our absolute commitment to operate ships that will appeal and attract the next and future generations of luxury travellers. Sustainability is the new craftmanship and we’re honoured to take a pioneering position within the industry and the wider travel sector,” he said.

 Pierroberto Folgiero, Fincantieri CEO, commented: “This is the very first major agreement for new construction after the pandemic emergency and testifies not only to the further growth of our long-standing partnership with MSC, which we thank, but also the confidence of both groups in the future of the cruise industry.

“These ships will allow us to implement cutting-edge technologies aimed at significantly improving environmental performance, laying the foundations for further developments.

“We are convinced that sustainability is a key factor to ensure our growth in the medium and long term. We will continue to act with determination to be forerunners in a sector that has always seen us hold leadership positions,” he concluded.

All six ships will be equipped with the latest environmental and marine technologies and will also feature selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology to enable a reduction of nitrogen oxide emissions by 90%, be fitted with shore power plug-in connectivity to reduce emissions in port and fitted with underwater noise management systems to help protect marine life.

They will also have a comprehensive range of on board energy efficient equipment to optimise engine use to further reduce emissions.

*****Fincantieri later announced that it had signed a contract to build a new ultra-luxury cruise ship.

To be delivered by the end of 2025, the shipyard did not name the contractor.

The order, which includes the option for two additional vessels, amounts to around €1.2 bill.

All of the contracts mentioned above, are subject to access to financing, as per industry practice, Fincantieri said.