Fincantieri’s Italian shipyards back to LNG
7 Sep 2021 - ConferenzaGNL
After a five-year break, LNG ship processing is returning to Fincantieri’s Italian shipyards. In 2016, the company launched at the Castellamare di Stabia shipyard the first LNG-powered ferry built outside Scandinavia, destined for a Canadian shipowner. The commitment is now much greater, with the start of construction – the first sheet metal was cut on 3 September – of two cruise ships for Princess Cruises, a brand of Carnival Corporation.
The ships will be built at the Monfalcone shipyard. The contract had been awarded in July 2018 and envisaged – before the Covid outbreak – delivery between the end of 2023 and the spring of 2025. In recent years, Fincantieri has remained active in the construction of LNG ships, both ferries and cruise ships, at the VARD shipyards acquired in 2013 in Norway.
With 175,000 gross tonnes, the cruise ships of the new “Sphere” class will be the largest built so far in Italy. They will accommodate around 4,300 passengers and will be the first LNG-fuelled ships in the Princess Cruises fleet, the Group’s third brand to switch to liquid natural gas. Parent company Carnival, a pioneer in the use of LNG, already has ships using this fuel in service under the Costa Crociere and Carnival Cruise Line brands. Princess Cruises, leader in the premium segment, operates a fleet of 14 ships carrying two million passengers a year to 380 destinations worldwide.
Fincantieri, a state-owned company and the main national operator in the sector, in its statement defines LNG as “the most advanced propulsion technology with the lowest environmental impact in the shipping industry, as well as the most environmentally friendly fossil fuel in the world, which will significantly reduce atmospheric emissions and the use of diesel oil”.