The company’s €9 billion investment will see the construction of 11 new next-generation cruise ships over the next 10 years, including four LNG-powered cruise ships (the World Class). This follows a letter of intent signed between MSC Cruises and the STX France shipyard in June 2016 for the construction of up to four LNG-powered cruise ships that will be more than 200 000 GRT. The first vessel is scheduled for delivery in 2022.
As such, the company has been actively searching for a bunkering solution. Following more than one year of research and analysis, both companies have decided to develop a tailor-made bunkering system, claiming that cruise ships present a unique challenge as bunkering operations need to ensure minimal disruption to both guests and crew.
MSC Cruises’ LNG Project Director, Yves Bui, said: “With up to four LNG-powered cruise ships scheduled to join our fleet, we are highly committed to developing the best possible technologies and systems to support the introduction of LNG to cruising. In ARTA, we have found a partner that matches our focus on innovation and the best maritime technology at sea and that understands our industry’s specific needs. The result is a system that features a newly developed coupling and decoupling mechanism as well as a double-walled hose that will allow us to conduct bunkering operations without disrupting the activities taking place on board the ship.”
The system will comprise a highly resistant double-walled corrugated stainless steel hoses designed to transfer the LNG from the bunkering vessel or shore facility to the cruise ship. The double-wall and complete vacuum insulation will provide an extra layer of protection, also ensuring the fuel remains at -162°C throughout the bunkering operation. In addition to this, the ‘male’ and ‘female’ quick connect/disconnect coupling will incorporate double sealing technology.
The Managing Director of ARTA, Andreas von Keitz, said: “We are exceptionally glad of the new system that we have developed to suit the cruise industry’s specific bunkering needs. Thanks to our partnership with MSC Cruises we have been able to fully understand these needs and have put over 40 years of our bunkering engineering experience to good use. The result is a technologically advanced solution that will help ensure that the double wall principle is maintained across the entire LNG bunkering supply chain.”