Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has signed an agreement with shipbuilder Meyer Turku for new vessels to be fueled with liquefied natural gas (LNG). The "Icon" ships would accommodate 5,000 passengers and are to be delivered in the second quarters of 2022 and 2024. In the meantime, the company said it would begin testing fuel cell technology on an existing Oasis-class ship in 2017 and run progressively larger fuel cell projects on new Quantum class vessels being built in the next several years. The switch to LNG provides further momentum for the technology, which has begun making "significant inroads" in the maritime industry, Royal Caribbean said. "Increasing the commitment to LNG makes it easier for suppliers to make their own infrastructure commitments," said CEO Richard Fain. "As more ships are built for LNG, the number of ports that support it will grow." The Icon ships are expected to run primarily on LNG but also would able to run on distillate fuel to accommodate itineraries that call on ports without LNG infrastructure. Carnival Corp. is also developing its LNG fuel capabilities (see Daily GPI, Oct. 6) and also has an agreement with Meyer Turku for LNG ships (see Daily GPI, Sept. 7).
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