The keel has been laid for MSC Cruises’ new ship MSC World Europa at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France. The cruise liner’s first LNG-powered cruise ship is to enter service in 2022. It is also the first cruise ship to use an LNG-powered fuel cell.

The 200,000-plus GT ship is the first such ship to be built in France and is said to be one of most technologically and environmentally advanced LNG-powered cruise vessels in its class. It will feature a new 50-kilowatt demonstrator system that incorporates solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology and uses LNG to produce electricity and heat on board. It is the first time an LNG-powered fuel cell has been used on a cruise ship.

This SOFC solution fuelled by LNG will reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) by about thirty per cent compared with a conventional LNG engine, with no emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides or fine particles. It also offers the advantage of being compatible with LNG, as well as several low carbon fuels such as types of methanol, ammonia and hydrogen.

The ship will also feature a new generation wastewater treatment system that is said to exceed some of the world’s most stringent regulatory standards, as well other cutting-edge environmental technology.

‘MSC World Europa is further proof of our commitment to environmental stewardship as she is set to reduce carbon emissions even further than many other existing cruise ships powered by LNG, which is currently the most environmentally-friendly fuel for commercial maritime operations,’ says Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman, MSC Cruises. ‘With this vessel, we also reconfirm our belief in investing in advanced environmental technology to meet our long-term goal of zero emissions from operations.’

MSC Cruises’ next flagship MSC Virtuosa is currently under construction in Saint-Nazaire and readying for delivery next year. The company also has firm orders with Chantiers de l’Atlantique for two additional LNG-powered ships, once each for the MSC World and Meraviglia classes of ships.

MSC World Europa’s specifications

  • Ship name: MSC World Europa
  • Ship prototype: World Class
  • Delivery date: 2022
  • Gross tonnage (GT): 200,000-plus
  • Length/Beam/Height: 333.3 m / 47 m / 68 m