The Cruise Division of MSC Group and Chantiers de l’Atlantique recently celebrated two significant newbuild milestones for the construction of the line’s next generation of environmentally advanced vessels. MSC World Europa and MSC Euribia will become the first LNG-powered vessels to join the MSC Cruises fleet next year, representing an investment of approximately USD $3.4 billion in Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) ships with the construction on World Europa II due to commence in early 2023.
These ships play an important role in the Company’s commitment to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. LNG is by far the cleanest marine fuel currently available at scale and it virtually eliminates local air pollutant emissions such as sulphur oxides (99%), nitrogen oxides (85%) and particles (98%). In terms of emissions with a global impact, LNG plays a key role in climate change mitigation and the engines of these two ships have the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 25% compared to standard fuels. In addition, with the subsequent availability of Bio and Synthetic forms of LNG, this energy source will provide a pathway toward eventual decarbonized operations.
“Today is another important milestone in our journey towards net zero emissions by 2050 for our marine operations. Following billions of euros of investment, we are announcing significant construction developments in not just one but two of our next generation LNG-powered vessels, bringing us ever closer to our vision of an emissions free cruise industry. As the cleanest fuel currently available at scale for our operations, LNG is at the vanguard of the momentous energy transition we must go through.” said Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman, MSC Cruises.
It was also revealed that MSC Cruises and the Chantiers de l’Atlantique confirmed the installation of a fuel cell pilot plant on board MSC World Europa known as Blue Horizon, marking the first time an LNG-powered fuel cell has been used on a cruise ship. The technology will use LNG to convert fuel into electricity at one of the highest efficiencies of any power solution available today, producing electricity and heat on board. The fuel cell technology selected by Chantiers de l’Atlantique (CdA) and MSC Cruises is the SOFC (Solid Oxide Fuel Cell) developed by Bloom Energy.
The SOFC will reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) by approximately a further 30 percent compared with a conventional LNG engine, with no emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides or fine particles. It also offers the advantage of being compatible with LNG, as well as several low carbon fuels such as methanol, ammonia and hydrogen. This project will form the building block for future larger installations and the beginning of an even closer collaboration between MSC Cruises and Chantiers de l’Atlantique on Research & Development of fuel cell technology.
The traditional coin ceremony took place as the keel was laid for MSC Cruises’ second LNG-powered ship, MSC Euribia, which will be one of the most environmentally high performing contemporary vessels built in France. Anne Claire Juventin, Responsible for Quality Control from Chantiers de l’Atlantique, and Valentina Mancini, Brand Manager from MSC Cruises, performed the traditional maritime ritual as godmothers representing the ship owner and the shipbuilder when they placed two coins under the keel as the historical sign of blessing and good fortune for the project, and the ship’s operational life at sea.
The float out of MSC World Europa, which will be the first LNG-powered vessel to join the MSC Cruises fleet, took place at the shipyard in Saint-Nazaire where she will now be moved to a wet dock for work to continue on the ship until her delivery in November 2022.