MSC Group and Onorato Armatori signed a contract today with Guangzhou Shipyard International Co. GSI and China Shipbuilding Trading Co., CSTC to build four 2,500-passenger, 3,765-lane meter luxury roll-on/roll-off luxury cruise ferries. The contract includes an option for four additional vessels.
GSI and CSTC are subsidiaries of the China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC).
Of the initial order for four: GNV, MSC Group’s Genoa, Italy-based ferry business and the leading operator in the Mediterranean, will receive the delivery of the first and third vessel, a statement said.
Onorato Armatori will receive the second and fourth. Additionally, the two companies will hold options for an additional two vessels each. The first vessel will come into service in 2020.
The official signing ceremony, which took place eon Sunday at CSSC headquarters in Beijing, was attended by Dong Qiang, chairman of CSSC, Pierfrancesco Vago on behalf of MSC Group, Achille Onorato of OnoratoArmatori and ship owner, Matteo Catani, CEO of GNV, HAN Guangde, chairman of GSI, and LI Hongtao, general manager of CSTC.
The luxury roll-on/roll-off passenger cruise ferries are 229.50 meters in length and 32 meters wide with 534 cabins for up to 2,500 people, and can travel at a speed of 23.5 knots. They have been classed by RINA.
Additionally, the vessels will feature a variety of environmentally friendly features including LNG-ready engines.
Vago said: “For MSC Group, the order of these highly-innovative, luxury cruise ferries marks yet another milestone in our commitment to China. A country in which we opened our first office in 1998 and today we have 24. Where over the years we built over 70 of our cargo vessels and most of our three million container boxes, all of which while investing over $10 billion in this and other manufacturing. A market in which we partner with some of the best companies in our industry to today handle 10 million TEU’s a year. And where, starting this May, will homeport one of our largest and most modern cruise ships: the MSC Splendida.
“We are particularly pleased to see that the Chinese shipbuilding industry has made such a significant step change over recent times,” added Vago. “It is for this reason that the time has now come for MSC Group to partner with China and its shipbuilding industry also with our ROPAX business. This starts with the construction of the magnificent vessels that we are announcing today.”
Onorato added: “With this signature we have taken another important step towards the creation of a RO-PAX class of ships, something inconceivable until a short time ago, something that is avant-garde and projected towards the future. These two new vessels will not only be the biggest RO-PAX ever built but will also have comfort and technology that will be difficult to copy and we are sure that they will represent the benchmark for the entire sector. Innovation has always been an objective to which the Onorato family has attached great importance, and the ships are the demonstration of how much we desire to improve and make more efficient the transport of people and cargo in the Mediterranean basin."