Total to supply MSC Cruises’ upcoming LNG-powered cruise ships in Marseille

Source: press release, 25 March 2021

Total has been operating the world’s largest LNG bunker vessel, the ‘Gas Agility’, at the Port of Rotterdam (photo: Total/Chris Schotanus)
Total has been operating the world’s largest LNG bunker vessel, the ‘Gas Agility’, at the Port of Rotterdam (photo: Total/Chris Schotanus)

Total and MSC Cruises have officialised a supply agreement for approximately 45,000 tons per year of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to MSC Cruises’ upcoming LNG-powered cruise ships to make calls in the port of Marseille (France).

This agreement underlines a strong collaborative action across the French maritime industry and the excellence of its value chain, from shipbuilding to the supply of cleaner marine fuels, and the involvement of local port authorities to enable the vessels’ safe operatorship.

Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman, says, “This agreement represents a further step in our ongoing journey towards continuously reducing our environmental footprint, for which LNG is currently a crucial component. As we prepare to launch our first of three upcoming LNG-powered cruise ships in 2022, through this key agreement Marseille will become our hub in the Mediterranean for the refuelling of our latest-generation and most environmentally advanced ships.”

Alexis Vovk, President, Marketing & Services at Total, declared: “We are proud to be developing the first LNG bunker supply chain in France, at the port of Marseille-Fos, together with shipping industry leaders such as MSC Cruises with whom we nurture a long-lasting partnership worldwide in the field of bunkering services. Total will continue to step up investments in LNG bunkering to ultimately reach its target of serving more than 10% of the global market. By doing so, we will continue to accompany the energy transition of the shipping industry and the reduction of carbon emissions of our customers, in line with our Climate ambition to get to Net Zero by 2050, together with society.”

The signature of this agreement has been placed under the high patronage ofAnnick Girardin, French Minister for Marine Affairs. It benefits from the direct support of the Minister, who has declared: “I welcome this agreement between MSC Cruises and Total. This is a strong commitment to the environment, which demonstrates that when major economic players commit to the ecological transition, they can access new levers for economic development. This is also what maritime France is all about! This agreement also illustrates France’s full potential for competitiveness and attractiveness. In line with the Fontenoy maritime forum, I wish that these links between shipowners, energy companies, ports and shipyards will continue to develop, in line with the sustainable development goals.”

Used as a marine fuel, LNG sharply reduces emissions from ships, resulting in a significant improvement in air quality, particularly for communities in coastal areas and port cities. This agreement therefore impacts positively not only the city where LNG bunkering will take place, Marseille, but also all the ports where the cruise ships will make their future call around the Mediterranean Sea.

MSC Cruises’ LNG powered vessels will be amongst the most technologically advanced cruise ships in the world, bringing a range of environmental innovations to the market. Chief amongst these is a 50-kilowatt, LNG-powered solid oxide fuel cell technology project that offers a potential to further significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions compared to a conventional LNG engine.

Total will bunker MSC Cruises’ LNG-powered cruise ships sailing on Mediterranean routes by ship-to-ship transfer, using its second LNG bunker vessel currently under construction. This vessel will meet the highest technical and environmental standards, using LNG herself as propulsion fuel and integrating a complete re-liquefaction of the boil-off gas.

By 2022, Total will operate two 18,600-m3 LNG bunkering vessels in Rotterdam and Marseille and share the use of a third bunker vessel in Singapore. In February 2021, Total also received a license from the Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) to supply LNG in the Port of Singapore from 2022.