World’s largest LNG-fuelled cruise ship delivered

Credit: MSC Cruises

The Cruise Division of MSC Group and French shipbuilding company Chantiers de l’Atlantique have announced the delivery of the world’s largest LNG-powered cruise ship and one of the first to incorporate fuel cell technology. 

MSC Cruises

As informed, the delivery ceremony of MSC World Europa took place in Saint-Nazaire on 24 October. The ship measures 580.3 meters in length and is able to accommodate 6,762 passengers with a crew of 2,138.

The vessel incorporates the latest environmentally friendly characteristics, including a dual-fuel power plant for LNG.

Compared to standard marine fuels, LNG nearly eliminates air pollutant emissions like sulphur oxides and fine particles, greatly reduces nitrogen oxides, and achieves a CO2 reduction of up to 25%, according to the companies.

LNG will also enable the development of low-carbon fuels and solutions such as green hydrogen, synthetic-LNG, and fuel cells.

Additionally, it is the world’s first contemporary cruise ship to feature solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology powered by liquefied natural gas. The ship is outfitted with a 150-kilowatt SOFC demonstrator that will use LNG to produce electricity and heat by means of an electrochemical reaction.

The companies also emphasized that the unit will be a testbed to accelerate the development of fuel cell technology for contemporary cruise ships. Furthermore, it offers the potential to enable hybrid propulsion solutions in the future.

“MSC World Europa represents a major step forward for our Cruise Division, the entire MSC Group, and our industry, with a range of unprecedented innovations in terms of environmental and marine technologies, design, and guest-centric features,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of the Cruise Division of MSC Group.

The vessel is equipped with a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system that is expected to reduce NOx emissions by 90% when LNG is not available and the ship must run on marine gas oil.

As LNG fuel achieves a similar reduction, the partners estimate that the cruise ship will be ready to meet the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Tier III NOx emissions standards. Like all MSC Cruises’ new builds, the ship is fitted with shore power capability, which minimizes engine use at ports where the required infrastructure is available.

MSC World Europa also incorporates a wide range of equipment to optimize energy use throughout the ship. These include smart ventilation and advanced air conditioning systems, with automated energy recovery loops, allowing effective distribution of heat and cold across the ship.

It will also be fitted with enhanced automatic data collection systems for remote energy monitoring and advanced analysis, allowing real-time shoreside support to optimize operational efficiency onboard.

Meanwhile, a steel-cutting ceremony for the sister ship of MSC World Europa on the same day. MSC World America will become the fourth new flagship to be deployed in the region and is planned to enter service in 2025.