Irish Continental Group plc (ICG) has placed an order with German shipbuilder Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesselschaft & Co.KG (FSG) for the construction of a cruise ferry worth EUR 165.2 million (USD 199 million).
Upon completion, it will be the largest cruise ferry in the world in terms of vehicle capacity, according to ICG.
The cruise ferry will be able to accommodate 1,800 passengers and crew, with capacity for 5,610 freight lane metres, which provides the capability to carry 330 freight units per sailing. Overall, it will effectively be a 50 pct increase in peak freight capacity compared to the MV Ulysses.
Under the deal, the cruise ferry is scheduled for delivery before mid-2020.
Twenty percent of the contract price will be paid in installments during the construction period. The balance of 80 pct will be paid on delivery. ICG said it would finance the ferry with funds from credit facilities.
The new ferry will be fitted with emissions scrubber technology and ballast water systems so as to meet current and known future environmental regulations and will deliver optimal fuel consumption while minimising related costs.
It will be powered by four main engines delivering 33,600 KW of power and adhere to Ice Class specification.
Freight capacity will be provided over five decks, while passenger facilities will be spread over three decks. In addition, the vessel has been designed for three-tier freight bow loading to allow for efficient loading/unloading and quick turnaround times.
The cruise ferry is being built specifically for Irish Ferries Dublin – Holyhead services. It is expected to replace the schedule of the MV Ulysses, which in turn will replace the currently chartered vessel MV Epsilon in the fleet.
This will allow for the deployment of the W.B. Yeats (arriving mid-2018) full-time on the direct Ireland – France route alongside the MV Oscar Wilde.
“This investment underpins the confidence the group has in the markets in which we operate. Alongside the recent investment in the MV W.B. Yeats, it brings our total investment to EUR 315 million for these two vessels designed for our operations on the Irish Sea.
“The construction of a cruise ferry of this size will offer both additional capacity and an enhanced experience for both our tourism and freight customers. This infrastructural investment enhances “the bridge” to the UK & Continental Europe that is a vital part of the continued success of Ireland’s open economy,” Eamonn Rothwell, Chief Executive Officer, said.