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June 30, 2010

Libya orders cruise ship at STX France

STX France has a new cruise ship customer. Libya's state owned GNMTC (General National Maritime Tranportatiion Company) has now followed a letter of intent for a cruise ship that it signed June 4 with a signed contract.

Hitherto GNMTC has operated 24 vessels engaged in the worldwide transportation of crude oil, oil products and LPH. Now, though, it plans to enter the cruise market.

Scheduled for delivery in December 2012 the 139,400 gt vessel will be 333 m long by 38 mr wide and will offer 1,739 passenger cabins and 732 crew cabins.

According to a GNMTC press release on the signing of the original LOI, the ship will have a capacity of some 4,000 passengers and will be be "similar to MSC Splendida and MSC Fantasia in design and architecture but greater in size and passengers capacity."

In March, STX Europe and MSC Cruises signed a letter of intent for the construction of a new large cruise ship a sister vessel of MSC Splendida, but slightly larger to be delivered in 2012. To suspicious minds, this sounds to be a remarkably similar vessel to that now ordered by GNMTC. Should that order from MSC Cruises have fallen through, the order from Libya would be providential. Or, again, it could have had a little government-to-government help.

Interestingly enough, the GNMTC order was signed in the presence of Dominique Bussereau, France's Secretary of State for Transport, and was the subject of a congratulatory release from the Elysee Palace, noting that the order for this new ship, will provide approximately four million work hours, helping to consolidate for the next two years the workload of STX France and the entire ishipbuilding sector in the St-Nazaire industrial area, which represents more than 6,000 jobs.

The statement noted that in response to industrial, economic and social considerations, and the continuity of its stake in STX France, the French Government is fully mobilized along with the company to implement new controls and support its diversification, particularly in mobilizing resources from the investment program for the future.

It also said that the conclusion of the contract with GNMTC is "part of the ongoing development of Franco-Libyan relations in all areas in accordance with the wishes of the two heads of state. It illustrates the growing ties between France and Libya, and their common desire for cooperation and friendship.


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