A maritime coin ceremony tradition took place earlier at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France, as the keel was laid for MSC Cruises’ first liquified natural gas-powered ship, MSC World Europa.
The 200,000-plus GT ship is scheduled to enter service in 2022, become the LNG-powered vessel to be built in France.
Zoe Africa Vago, daughter of Alexa Aponte-Vago and her husband Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises executive chairman, and Aurore Bezard from Chantiers de I’Atlantique performed the traditional maritime ritual.
The pair will serve as godmothers to the ship, representing the ship owner and the shipbuilder when they placed two coins under the keel as the historical sign of blessing and good fortune for the project, and the ship’s operational life at sea.
Vago said: “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.
“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 World Europa will feature a new 50-kilowatt demonstrator system that incorporates solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology and use LNG to produce electricity and heat on board, 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 by about 30 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.