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Ulstein Verft and undisclosed owner in expedition ship deal

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Ulstein Verft, the privately owned Norwegian shipbuilder, said it has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with an undisclosed owner for the construction of one or more expedition cruise vessels of the design type ULSTEIN CX104.

“The past few years we have worked strategically to target the exploration cruise market. This LOI proves that we are now confirming our position in this market. We are pleased to have been chosen as partner in this exciting project and we now look forward to turning this project into reality,” Gunvor Ulstein, CEO at Ulstein Group, said in a statement.

The vessels will be designed by Ulstein Design & Solutions to incorporate the distinctive X-BOW design, and will be approx. 120 metres long and 20 metres wide. There has been great focus on creating a safe and comfortable platform as well as implementing environmental friendly and sustainable solutions.

SunStone Ships Inc. in Florida signed an agreement with the China Merchants group to build four, with an option of six further, 104 metre expedition shops designed by Ulstein

In addition, the design has emphasized on giving passengers the best possible viewing experiences while sailing through some of the most spectacular areas of our planet.

“The vessels will surpass the newest regulatory demands for taking passengers into Arctic and Antarctic waters, and are planned for delivery in 2019 and 2020,” the company said. The signing of the LOI represents a significant step to realise these future expedition vessels to the market.

"The cooperation and team work have been very good and we are looking forward to realising this project together with all parts involved. Our 100 years of tradition and experience in building and innovate ships will benefit our customer”, says managing director Kristian Sætre in Ulstein Verft.


Peace Boat signs LOI to build Ecoship at Arctech in Finland

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Peace Boat, the Japanese cruise organisation, has signed a letter of intent (LOI) with the Finnish shipbuilding company Arctech Helsinki Shipyard Inc., to construct the Ecoship, the world’s greenest cruise ship.

“Peace Boat director and founder Yoshioka Tatsuya, Esko Mustamaki, CEO from Arctech and Jon Rysst, Regional Manager North Europe, from Classification Society DNV GL, announced the agreement during Nor-Shipping, the biggest maritime trade fair in Scandinavia,” the Japanese company said in a statement.Yoshioka said: "We have agreed with Arctech to build the Ecoship, the most innovative and ecologically friendly cruise vessel ever. We believe this ship will be a game changer for the shipping industry and will contribute to the protection of the environment. It will be a flagship for climate change. We are very happy to work together with a Finnish shipyard, and look forward to exploring clean and sustainable technologies with partners throughout this region, which is known for its environmental leadership”.

Esko Mustamaki, from Arctech Helsinki Shipyard, added: “We are very excited to work with Peace Boat in the construction of this very special vessel. Arctech has a long experience in design and construction of special products. Ecoship will combine Arctech’s know-how in technically advanced and environmentally friendly vessels with the well-established expertise of the Finnish shipbuilding network in designing and building of high-class cruise vessels and other special products. Arctech is a forerunner in developing and applying technological innovations, including LNG propulsion."

Before the event, the CEO DNV GL – Maritime, Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, said: “It’s really nice to see this innovative and exciting project proceed, this is a very positive development for Peace Boat. For us at DNV GL, it is always wonderful when such impressive projects using environmentally friendly technology take one step further towards being realized and we will continue to support this project”. 

A final contract for the 2,000-passenger and 750-cabin 60,000 gross ton vessel is expected to be signed shortly. The new ship is scheduled for delivery in spring 2020.

Ecoship, with its nature-inspired architectural design by Spanish company Oliver Design, will be the platform for Peace Boat’s round-the-world cruise carrying 6,000 people per year; host exhibitions on green technology in up to 100 ports per year; and serve as a floating sustainability laboratory contributing to research on the ocean, climate and green marine technology. The ship also will create awareness and encourage active engagement with the challenges embodied in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Global cruise market growth accelerates to 6.5% to 24.7 million passengers, China powers to second place

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

The global cruise market grew by 6.5% to 24.7 million passengers in 2016, exceeding forecasts that the market would grow to 24.2 million people, while China is now the second largest source market of cruise passengers.

In 2015, a total of 23.2 million people took a cruise, an increase of 5.5% on the previous year.

The US remained the largest market with 11.52 million passengers, but China reached the second place by 2.1 million, surpassing Germany that produced 2.01 million passengers. The UK was pushed to the fourth place with 1.79 million passengers last year, Travel Weekly in the UK reported, citing CLIA figures.

CLIA forecast the global market to grow by 4.4% this year to reach 25.8 million passengers.

“In its findings CLIA added that the industry’s growth can be attributed to the continuing development of the Asian market, especially China, with ocean capacity in the region rising to 9.2% in 2016, 38% more overall than in 2015,” Travel Weekly said.

Fincantieri buys 66.66% of the shares in STX France

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Fincantieri, the Italian shipbuilder, said it has acquired a 66.66% stake in STX France, the French builder of e.g. cruise ships, from the South Korea based STX Offshore & Shipbuilding group, for €79.5 million.

The French government holds the rest of the shares in the St Nazaire based shipyard, whose portfolio also includes naval vessels.

After this deal, the cruise ship building sector is largely in the hands of two groups: Fincantieri, with facilities in Italy and France and Meyer, which has a shipyard in Germany and another one in Finland.

In addition, MV Werften, which is part of the Genting Hong Kong group, has a large orderbook of cruise ships, but these are all from its parent company. Some shipyards in China are showing growing interest in the passenger ship building sector as well.

Certares LP buys a stake in AmaWaterways

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

AmaWaterways is pleased to announce that it has closed on an investment from travel and hospitality investor group Certares LP. Certares joins the Schreiner/Karst, Murphy and McGeary families as the company’s fourth investor, all of whom remain committed to supporting AmaWaterways long-term growth and innovation in the river cruising industry. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Last week, AmaWaterways, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary in 2017, christened its newest ship, the AmaKristina, and debuted its design and construction plans for its double-width Danube ship, the AmaMagna, which is expected to launch in 2019. Certares, whose other current investments include American Express Global Business Travel and Travel Leaders Group, is an investment company focused on the travel and hospitality sectors. Certares holds and oversees each of its portfolio companies separately.

Colin Farmer, Managing Partner of Certares, said “We are extremely excited to be joining the three family shareholders of AmaWaterways. Rudi, Kristin, the Murphys and the McGearys have built the leading luxury river cruising company in the industry and we are honored to join them in support of this next chapter of the company’s development. We are partnering with an exceptional team who have an incredible track record of customer service and product innovation.”

Rudi Schreiner, President of AmaWaterways, said: “We are happy to welcome Certares as a partner in AmaWaterways. We look forward to continuing our growth in the river cruising market with the support of our new partners and our family partners. We are proud of the company we have built over the last 15 years, the privilege we have of hosting our guests onboard every day and the opportunities we see ahead of us.”