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MSC, Fincantieri and Snam to assess hydrogen cruise ship feasibility

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Swiss-based shipping group MSC, Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri and gas group Snam are joining forces on a feasibility study with a view to building the world’s first hydrogen-powered cruise ship. The three companies will look at a series of logistical and technological issues over the next 12 months to assess whether to proceed with the project, they said in a joint statement on Monday.

The aim is to promote the use of hydrogen in shipping to reduce emissions while attracting the investment needed to scale up the business, they said.

“We want to be on the front line of the energy revolution in our sector and hydrogen can greatly help in this direction,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, the executive chairman of MSC’s cruise division.

The European Union this month announced an ambitious climate change package that will introduce duty on high-carbon shipping fuel that has not been taxed previously.

Hydrogen is widely viewed as having an important role to play in reducing emissions in heavy transport sectors that are difficult to electrify, though costs will first need to fall.

“Maritime transport today accounts for some 3% of CO2 emissions worldwide … the use of hydrogen can help achieve net-zero emission targets,” said Snam CEO Marco Alvera.

Snam, which derives most of its revenue from gas transport in Italy, has pledged to spend more on new green business lines such as hydrogen to help to position the company for the transition to cleaner energy.