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Libya’s GNMTC confirms cruise ship order
Thursday, 01 July 2010 16:17

Less than a month after creating widespread surprise by signing a letter of intent with STX France for construction of a cruise ship, Libya’s General National Maritime Transport Corporation (GNMTC) has placed a firm order for the vessel.

 

French transport secretary Dominique Bussereau broke the news on June 30, announcing that he had been in Tripoli earlier in the day to witness the signing, which had apparently been kept a closely guarded secret.

A little later, STX France confirmed the minister’s announcement, saying that delivery of the 1,739-cabin vessel was scheduled for December 2012. It said that state-owned GNMTC, which currently operates a fleet of 24 oil and gas tankers, was moving into cruise shipping to expand its activity.

“We are pleased to welcome this new client to our Saint Nazaire shipyard and so to contribute to the expansion of GNMTC’s activities,” said STX France chief executive Jacques Hardelay.

As announced when the letter of intent was signed on June 4, the 139,400-tonne vessel promises to be comparable to the ‘MSC Fantasia’ and ‘MSC Splendida’, which were delivered by STX France to MSC Cruises in December 2008 and July 2009.

It will be 333 metres long and 38 metres wide and will offer 732 crew cabins, as well as the 1,739 passenger cabins.  Total passenger capacity is expected to be about 4,000.

The order is particularly welcome news for STX France where activity has run down drastically since delivery of NCL’s ‘Norwegian Epic’ in mid-June. The company has begun work on a new 1,751-cabin vessel for MSC Cruises despite the fact that financing of the order has still to be finalised.  That vessel is scheduled for delivery in mid-2012.

The only other vessel currently under construction at the yard is a helicopter carrier for the French navy, ordered in April last year.

Drawing attention to the role played by the French government in obtaining the latest orders, Mr. Bussereau said, “These three orders enable the Saint Nazaire shipyard to assure the future of French shipbuilding in a context of crisis.”

- Andrew Spurrier

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