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MSC embarks on fleet expansion with multi-billion dollar investment

PARIS — MSC Cruises and its shipbuilder have signed contracts for third and fourth LNG-powered MSC World Class ships plus two additional projects: a new prototype class of LNG-powered cruise ships to operate under the MSC Cruises brand; and the development of yet another innovative prototype ship class concept that MSC says could use wind power and other advanced technologies.

MSC Cruises’ third and fourth LNG-powered MSC World Class ships are scheduled for delivery 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 and is due to enter service in 2022.

With 205,000 GT, this ship 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%.

MSC Cruises and Chantiers de l’Atlantique have also extended their partnership over the next decade with two further projects.

First, the companies signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the development of yet a new prototype class of LNG-powered cruise ships to operate under the MSC Cruises brand.

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.

The three agreements represent an investment in excess of 6.5 billion euros (approximately Cdn$9.4 billion).

“The three agreements signed today extend our investment plan up to 2030,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman, MSC Cruises. “They stem from an exceptional partnership, with Chantiers de l’Atlantique, that has already delivered 15 highly-innovative 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.”

On Jan. 1, 2020 MSC Cruises became the first major cruise line to achieve carbon neutral fleet operations.

MSC Cruises opened its Canadian office in May 2019.