Explora Journeys announces the construction of two hydrogen-powered luxury cruise ships - Cruise International

Explora Journeys announces the construction of two hydrogen-powered luxury cruise ships

By Claire Benktander | 6 Jul 2022

EXPLORA III

Holandsfjord and Svartisen glacier Engabreen, Nordland Norway on Explora III.

Explora Journeys has announced the construction of two additional hydrogen-powered luxury cruise ships, taking the fleet number from four to six vessels.

The luxury travel brand Explora Journeys of the Cruise Division of MSC Group and Fincantieri, one of the world’s largest shipbuilding groups, announced the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the construction of an additional two hydrogen-powered luxury cruise ships to take the total fleet number from four to six vessels.

These ships, EXPLORA V and VI, will feature a new generation of liquefied natural gas (LNG) engines and will be equipped with industry-first environmental technologies and solutions, including a containment system for liquid hydrogen that will enable them to use this promising low-carbon fuel.

EXPLORA V_Exterior View_01(1)

Explora V

New generation technologies on board EXPLORA V and VI will tackle methane slip issue effectively and allow for zero emissions operations while in port, with hydrogen 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.

This means Explora Journeys’ fleet will now comprise six ships: EXPLORA III, IV, V and VI, that will all be LNG-powered, with the latter two also being hydrogen-powered. The two newbuilds will come into service in 2027 and 2028, respectively.

This has provided an opportunity to enhance the mix of suites with an increased number of spacious and luxurious Ocean Residences and larger public spaces, which offer a true sense of being at home at sea.

EXPLORA III_Exterior View_02(1)

Explora III

Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of the Cruise Division of MSC Group, said, “Explora Journeys is building ships for tomorrow, utilising today’s latest technologies and being ready to adapt to alternative energy solutions as they become available.

“The announcement today marks another significant step forward in our goal as a business to reach net zero emissions by 2050 across all our cruise operation for the two brands and a further proof of our commitment to invest in the most advanced marine environmental technologies available to develop sustainable solutions for the future.

“This transition to zero emissions operations for the maritime industry is the biggest challenge that we will ever face, and this will only be achieved by everyone playing their part – by investing in research and development and through significant investment both by companies but also governments.”

EXPLORA V_Exterior View_03(1)

Explora V

LNG is currently the cleanest marine fuel currently available at scale and it virtually eliminates local air pollutant emissions like sulphur oxides (99 per cent), nitrogen oxides (85 per cent) and particles (98 per cent).

In terms of emissions with a global impact, LNG plays a significant role in climate change mitigation with the engines having the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 25 per cent compared to standard marine fuels. In addition, with the increasing availability of bio and synthetic forms of LNG in the future, this energy source will provide a pathway toward eventual decarbonised operations.

Michael Ungerer, Chief Executive Officer, Explora Journeys, added, “These bold moves to amend our construction plans, make significant additional investment in current orders and confirm orders for two more vessels with new technology despite the economic environment are something only a family company can do.

“This also demonstrates unequivocally our absolute commitment to operate ships that will appeal and attract the next and future generations of luxury travellers. Sustainability is the new craftmanship and we’re honoured to take a pioneering position within the industry and the wider travel sector.”

EXPLORA III_Exterior View_02(1)

Explora III

Pierroberto Folgiero, Chief Executive Officer of Fincantieri, commented: “This is the very first major agreement for new construction after the pandemic emergency and testifies not only to the further growth of our long-standing partnership with MSC, which we thank, but also the confidence of both groups in the future of the cruise industry.

“These ships will allow us to implement cutting-edge technologies aimed at significantly improving environmental performance, laying the foundations for further developments.

“We are convinced that sustainability is a key factor to ensure our growth in the medium and long term. We will continue to act with determination to be forerunners in a sector that has always seen us hold leadership positions.”

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