MSC’s 2nd eco-friendly Explora cruise ship hits construction milestone

Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri has hosted a coin ceremony for the second Explora eco-friendly cruise ship that is built for the Cruise Division of Swiss shipping giant MSC Group.

Explora Journeys
Credit: Fincantieri

A first section, assembled in recent months in Castellammare di Stabia, reached the Genoese shipyard by sea a few days ago, where the ship will be built over the next 18 months and will be delivered in August 2024.

The construction of Explora II required an investment of approximately €500 million on the part of the Cruise Division of MSC Group.

Explora II is part of an order for four luxury ships for over euro 2.2 billion, to which two options have been added – Explora V and Explora VI, which would bring the total value of the order to around €3.5 billion.

At the same time, the investment will ensure employment in the coming years at the Sestri Ponente shipyards where, along with Explora II, Explora III and Explora IV will also be built and will join the fleet, between 2024 and 2027.

The environmental technologies featured on the Explora ships are particularly sophisticated. The last four vessels (from III to VI) will be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), which is expected to eliminate local air pollutant emissions like sulphur oxides (99 per cent), nitrogen oxides (85 per cent), particles (98 per cent) and CO2 (25%).

Explora V and Explora VI will feature a containment system for liquid hydrogen, a low-carbon fuel, that will power a six-megawatt fuel cell to produce emissions-free power for the hotel operation and allow the vessels to run on ‘zero emissions’ in port, with the engines turned off.

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All vessels will also be equipped with the latest environmental and marine technologies, including the latest selective catalytic reduction technology, and shore power plug-in connectivity.

Furthermore, the ships will include underwater noise management systems to help protect marine life, and a comprehensive range of onboard energy-efficient equipment to optimise engine use to further reduce emissions.