Italian shipbuilding company Fincantieri has held a steel cutting ceremony for the first of two new liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered cruise ships for TUI Cruises, a joint venture between TUI AG and Royal Caribbean Cruises.
The steel-cutting ceremony was held on 22 June in San Giorgio di Nogaro (Udine) at Centro Servizi Navali, a company specialized in logistics and production of sheet metal for the Fincantieri yards located in northeastern Italy.
The new ships, described as being the “backbone” of the future TUI Cruises’ fleet, will have about 160,000 gross tons and will be able to operate on LNG as a fuel.
Furthermore, the Italian shipbuilder is exploring possibilities to make them operate in the future with low-emission biofuels.
In addition, they will be equipped with improved catalytic converters (compliant with the Euro 6 standard) and a shore power connection. The company hopes that this will ensure almost emission-free ship operations while in port (about 40 per cent of operating time).
Finally, the vessels will be equipped with an efficient waste treatment system that can shred organic waste by means of thermal treatment.
“The order is based on a prototype project developed by Fincantieri which enhances the well-established features of modernity and sustainability of TUI Cruises, a company with one of the most modern and environmentally friendly cruise fleets in the world,” Fincantieri stated.
“With an innovative product configuration, energy efficiency lies at the heart of the project, with the twofold objective of reducing fuel consumption and minimizing environmental impact, according to the latest industry regulations.”
Fincantieri signed a contract to build two LNG-powered cruise ships for TUI Cruises back in 2018. The ships are slated for delivery in 2024 and in 2026, respectively.
The steel-cutting for the LNG-fueled vessel comes just days after Finnish shipbuilding company Meyer Turku started the construction of the methanol-ready cruise ship being built for TUI Cruises.
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