Fincantieri to construct two hydrogen-powered ships for Explora Journeys

Explora V and VI will come into service for the cruise line in 2027 and 2028 respectively

Fincantieri to construct two hydrogen-powered ships for Explora Journeys

Explora Journeys

Explora V (pictured) and VI will feature a new generation of LNG engines and a containment system of hydrogen fuel

By Alex Smith |

Explora Journeys and Fincantieri have signed a memorandum of agreement for the construction of an additional two LNG- and hydrogen-powered luxury cruise ships.

Explora V and VI will feature a new generation of LNG engines designed to tackle the issue of ‘methane slip’, which is the gas which goes unburnt in the combustion process for natural gas fuel and is therefore released.

The ships will also include a containment system for liquid hydrogen that will enable the cruise line to use the fuel if available. Hydrogen fuel will power a six-megawatt fuel cell to produce power for the hotel operation and allow the vessels to run with zero emissions in port, with the engines turned off.

“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,” said Pierroberto Folgiero, CEO of Fincantieri. “These ships will allow us to implement cutting-edge technologies aimed at significantly improving environmental performance, laying the foundations for further developments.”

Explora Journeys has also revealed that the previously announced Explora III and IV will now be powered by LNG fuel. The two ships will be enlarged by 19 metres to enable the installation of a new generation system based on LNG and hydrogen. The expansion of the ships will also allow for the installation of additional Ocean Residence suites and larger public spaces. However, the change will require a temporary halt of work due to the significant redesign of the vessels, which will now be delivered in 2026 and 2027.

The construction of two additional ships and fitting of LNG engines to Explora III and IV will bring Explora Journey’s investment in its fleet to €3.5 billion ($3.57 billion).

“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,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of the cruise division of MSC Group. “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.”

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