Viking Sun, the fourth of eight cruise ships Viking Ocean Cruises has ordered from Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri, was delivered to the company on September 25 at the Ancona shipyard.
Like its sister ships, Viking Sun is placed in the small cruise ship segment. With a gross tonnage of about 47,800 tons, it has 465 cabins with accommodation for 930 passengers, with a total capacity of over 1,400 people, including the crew.
Fincantieri informed that the Viking Ocean Cruises units “are all built according to the latest navigation regulations and equipped with the most modern safety systems, including the ‘Safe return to port’.”
Additionally, they feature the most advanced technologies for energy saving and for meeting the strictest environmental regulations with energy-efficient engines and an exhaust gas cleaning system.
The first of the series, Viking Star, was built at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Marghera and delivered in 2015, the second and the third, Viking Sea and Viking Sky, took the sea from the shipyard in Ancona in 2016 and 2017.
Viking Ocean Cruises is scheduled to take delivery of the last four units in 2018, 2019, 2021 and 2022, respectively.
Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri and cruise company Carnival Corporation have signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) for the construction of one next-generation cruise ship for Carnival’s UK-based brand Cunard.
As informed, the agreement will become operational when all the financial and technical conditions are satisfied.
The 113,000 gross ton ship will be built at the Monfalcone yard and join the Cunard’s fleet in 2022. With an accommodation space for 3,000 passengers, the cruise ship will be the 249th to fly the Cunard flag since the company’s founding in 1839.
The cruise brand currently operates three ships, Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria.
“We are very pleased to announce the fourth ship for our … Cunard brand… While today’s news helps drive Cunard’s overall strategic growth plans, we also look forward to launching this next-generation cruise ship to help meet increasing global demand and entice even more travelers to explore the Cunard experience,” Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation, commented.
“Fleet enhancement is an important part of our ongoing goal to exceed guest expectations. This includes replacing less efficient ships with more efficient vessels over time as part of our managed capacity growth,” Donald added.
“For this group we have built 63 ships, representing today almost two-thirds of their fleet, with other 9 to come in the coming years,” Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, said.
With this new ship agreement, Carnival Corporation now has 18 new ships scheduled to be delivered to its portfolio of cruise brands between 2018 and 2022.
South Korea intends to launch a pilot project to build a 180,000 gross ton LNG-fueled vessel in an effort to reduce pollutants emitted from ships and promote environmentally friendly industries, the country’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF) informed.
The ministry said it will collaborate with Korean shipyards, private/public companies and financial institutions to develop the new class of LNG-powered ships.
In January, the South Korean government took a step forward in its efforts to make the domestic maritime sector compliant with the sulfur cap introduced by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
On September 26, MOF, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, POSCO, Korea Gas Corporation, Korea Development Bank, Korea Shipowners’ Association, LNG Bunkering Industrial Association and a research institute will sign a deal to start with the pilot project.
“This pilot program to build the world’s largest LNG-powered ship is an opportunity to establish the domestic LNG shipbuilding industry,” Kang Joon-suk, Deputy Minister, MOF, said.
“We will further strengthen support for LNG-powered vessels to contribute to the nation’s related industries,” he added.
The country is promoting related industries such as operating of LNG-fueled vessels and LNG bunkering as there is only one LNG-fueled vessel currently operating in South Korea, according to MOF.
Helsinki-based shipping company ESL Shipping, a member of the Aspo Group, has named Haaga, the second of the company’s two LNG-fueled dry cargo vessels.
The naming ceremony took place at the Jinling shipyard in Nanjing, China, on September 22.
Featuring a length of 160 meters and a width of 26 meters, the 26,000 dwt newbuilding is said to be more eco-friendly than the current generation of vessels and produces more than 50 percent lower carbon dioxide emissions.
“Our … shipping company’s investment is almost at the finish line. These next-generation vessels are helping our shipping company to reduce its carbon footprint,” Aki Ojanen, CEO of Aspo Plc and chairman of the Board of Directors of ESL Shipping, commented.
Earlier this year, Viikki, the first newbuilding, was also christened in Nanjing.
“We are very pleased with the building quality of Viikki and Haaga. Now, we will receive excellent and efficient tools for green sea transportation in the future,” Mikki Koskinen, Managing Director of ESL Shipping, added.
Haaga and its sister ship Viikki will start operating in the Baltic Sea during the first half of 2018, according to the company.
This construction project is part of the Bothnia Bulk project, partly funded by the EU. Its objective is to modernize the sea route between Luleå, Oxelösund and Raahe to be more eco-friendly.
Norway-based dry bulk shipping company Golden Ocean Group Limited (GOGL) has entered into agreements to sell six Ultramax vessels built at Chengxi Shipyard between 2015 and 2017.
The vessel would be sold en bloc for USD 142.5 million. The net cash proceeds from the sale after the repayment of USD 39.2 million of associated debt will be slightly in excess of USD 100 million.
GOGL said that all ships are expected to be delivered to their new owner, an unrelated third party, during the fourth quarter of 2017. Media reports linked the sale to Scorpio Bulkers, however, the company has not yet confirmed the rumors.
Separately, the company informed that it has agreed to take early delivery of the Golden Nimbus, a Capesize vessel under construction at New Times Shipbuilding.
Golden Ocean will make a final payment of USD 29.4 million for the vessel at delivery and will draw USD 25 million from the related bank financing in early October 2017, resulting in a net cash outlay of USD 4.4 million.
Upon delivery, which is expected this month, the vessel will commence a time charter at a gross rate of USD 16,750 per day for a duration of between 14 and 18 months.
Including this charter, the company has taken advantage of recent market strength to fix five of the 44 Capesize vessels in its 2018 operating fleet on charters of one year.
“The sale of these vessels strengthens our commercial focus on Capesize and Panamax vessels, where we have critical mass and that we believe will provide the greatest leverage to a recovery in the dry bulk shipping market,” Birgitte Ringstad Vartdal, CEO of Golden Ocean Management AS, said.
“It also increases our financial flexibility considerably as the majority of the gross proceeds will directly increase our cash balance. We are also pleased to be in the position to take early delivery of one of our Capesize newbuildings after having secured employment for the vessel at a rate well above our cash break even levels,” Vartdal added.
Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., a major shipyard here, said Thursday that it has clinched a 927 billion won (US$818 million) deal to build five container vessels.
In a regulatory filing, Daewoo Shipbuilding said it will deliver the vessels by March 15, 2020.
The shipbuilder did not reveal the name of the buyer.
Daewoo Shipbuilding said the deal includes an option, but fell short of providing further details.
With the latest deal, Daewoo Shipbuilding has secured deals valued at $2.57 billion to build 23 ships, which is equivalent to 56.2 percent of its annual order target of $4.57 billion.
Industry sources said the buyer of the ships may be MSC, the world’s second-largest shipping firm.
An earlier report has said that two South Korean shipbuilders — Samsung Heavy Industries Co. and Daewoo Shipbuilding — are expected to win a combined US$1.5 billion in deals.
MSC is close to a deal with Samsung Heavy for up to six 22,000-TEU vessels and is expected to turn to Daewoo Shipbuilding for a further five, the report said.
Norway-based shipping company Songa Bulk ASA is contemplating a tap issue in order to use the net proceeds for the acquisition of additional dry bulk vessels.
The target amount is USD 18 million in the senior secured bond Songa Bulk ASA 17/22 FRN USD C, with a maturity on June 13, 2022.
The current outstanding amount is USD 120 million and the borrowing limit is USD 150 million.
Following a successful tap issue, the company said it will not carry out any additional tap issues.
The company revealed it is also in the process to dispose of one of its Supramax vessels. When concluded, the sales proceeds will be used for further vessel acquisitions, Songa Bulk said.
Songa Bulk has recently bought a number of second-hand vessels, prompted by attractive prices in the dry bulk sector. Earlier this week, Songa Bulk entered into an agreement to acquire a 2012-built Kamsarmax. The latest acquisition brings the company’s fleet to 15 vessels, which resulted in an investment worth USD 279.6 million.
French shipping firm CMA CGM and CSSC Group have officially signed the contract for the construction of nine 22,000 TEU ships, the largest container vessels ordered so far.
With the contract, signed on September 19 in Marseille, the company confirmed that the Chinese shipyards Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding and Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding (SWS) will be building the container ships.
Earlier reports suggested that, under a letter of intent (LOI) signed with the shipyards, CSSC Hudong-Zhonghua would be in charge of constructing five ships from the batch, while Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding would be entrusted with building the remaining four units.
CMA CGM unveiled the order earlier in September as part of its second quarter financial report, saying that the contract was placed “in order to keep pace with market growth and the group’s needs.”
“This order, of which the first ships will come into service from the end of 2019, will further reduce unit transport costs, particularly on the Asia-Europe routes,” the company informed.
The contract is estimated to be worth USD 1.2 billion.
Brazilian miner Vale has been linked to a time charter deal for up to 30 Valemax newbuilds contracted from seven different companies.
Under the long-term contracts of affreightment lasting up to 25 years, Chinese joint venture between ICBC Leasing and China Merchants would be providing ten 400,000 DWT bulkers, while South Korean shipping company Pan Ocean would be providing 4 Valemax newbuilds.
In addition, Pan Ocean’s compatriots Korea Line Corporation, H Line Shipping, and SK Shipping would each contribute two 400,000 DWT bulkers, data from Intermodal Research shows.
Furthermore, Polaris Shipping is reportedly ordering up to ten newbuilds to support the contract.
The orders are said to be spread across several Chinese and South Korean yards, with no clear delivery dates disclosed.
The move comes at a time of very low newbuilding prices for dry bulk tonnage, which might have been the reason behind the ordering spree.
When asked about the order by World Maritime News, Vale said it could not comment on the reports.
Separately, last month, Vale and nominees of Bank of Communications Finance Leasing (Bocomm) concluded the sale and purchase of two Valemaxes owned and currently operated by the Brazilian giant.
The miner said the transaction totaled USD 178 million, which was received by Vale on August 8, 2017, at the delivery of the vessels.
“Vale is also negotiating the sale of its remaining two VLOCs, which is consistent with its strategy of strengthening its balance sheet and focusing on core assets,” the company added.
Japanese shipping company Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line) revealed plans to make investments totaling JPY 80 billion (around 718 million) over the next three years, excluding the containership business.
As explained, the investments are part of K Line’s “Revival for Greater Strides” plan as the company approaches its centenary of operations.
A total of JPY 35 billion will be used for fleet restructuring, including replacements. In addition, the company will invest JPY 15 billion in environment-related areas. As for strategic investments, K Line is to spend JPY 30 billion, which will be used to improve income stability and develop next-generation core businesses, including the energy value chain business, according to the company.
“Placing top priority on improving our financial position, we will invest JPY 35 billion in our fleets, with a policy of meticulous selection and substitution,” the company said in its annual report.
Under the fleet planning and investment plans, K Line will reduce the dry bulk fleet by 31 bulk carriers until 2019. What is more, car carrier fleet will be decreased by 11 vessels and short sea/coastal fleet by 1 vessel.
On the other hand, K Line intends to increase LNG carrier fleet by 8 ships.
In response to a severe business environment which negatively affected K Line’s financial results in fiscal 2015 and 2016, the company has taken various measures to improve its future performance. These include a structural reform of the dry bulk carrier business and an integration of the containership business, among others.
In its outlook for fiscal 2017, K Line said that the group-wide efforts are expected to return the company to profitability.
“We forecast that our own efforts will have a JPY 44.3 billion positive effect on ordinary income, including JPY 20.3 billion from the provision for losses in the containership business and JPY 19.2 billion from cost reductions and other efforts,” Eizo Murakami, President and CEO of K Line, commented.
“In addition, we anticipate a further JPY 29.1 billion improvement, thanks to external factors such as moderate recovery trends in the containership and dry bulk markets. Together with our own efforts, this should translate into a JPY 73.4 billion overall improvement in ordinary income,” Murakami concluded.