Explora Journeys has ordered two additional hydrogen-powered luxury cruise ships, which will take the luxury line’s fleet from four to six vessels.
The line has signed a memorandum of agreement with Fincantieri, one of the world’s largest shipbuilding groups, which will construct Explora V and VI. They will come into service in 2027 and 2028 respectively.
The line said Explora V and VI will feature a new generation of LNG engines that will tackle the issue of methane slip and will also be equipped with “industry first environmental technologies and solutions”, including a containment system for liquid hydrogen that will enable them to use the low-carbon fuel.
Hydrogen fuel will power a six-megawatt fuel cell to produce emissions-free power for the ships’ hotel operation and allow the vessels to run on zero emissions in port, with the engines turned off.
Explora III and IV will also now be powered by LNG and are being enlarged to enable the installation of a new system based on LNG and hydrogen.
Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of the cruise division of MSC Group, said the maritime industry’s goal to reach zero emissions “is the biggest challenge that we will ever face”, and said it required investment in research and development, and investment from both companies and governments.
He continued: “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 operations for the two brands [MSC Cruises and Explora Journeys] and a further proof of our commitment to invest in the most advanced marine environmental technologies available to develop sustainable solutions for the future.”