How Viking’s Mississippi cruise ship will obtain Jones Act compliance

Written by Nick Blenkey
Viking River cruises Jones Act vessel

Viking Mississippi [Image: Viking River Cruises]

Torstein Hagen’s Viking River Cruises looks to be moving right along with its plans to offer its first U.S. river cruises. They are set to start one year from now, in August 2022 utilizing a purpose built Jones Act vessel, the Viking Mississippi, currently under construction at an Edison Chouest Offshore group shipyard in Louisiana.

In case you were wondering how Basel, Switzerland, based Viking will achieve Jones Act compliance and what the 386 guest ship will cost, some details are now emerging.

MARAD is proposing to grant an entity called River 1 LLC approval to time charter the vessel to “Viking USA, a non-citizen, on a long-term basis primarily for cruises on the Mississippi River. River 1’s submission advised MARAD that River 1 is a Louisiana limited liability company formed by the Edison Chouest Offshore group of companies (“ECO”). ECO is an organization of privately-owned operators, owners, and builders of U.S.- flagged vessels that is 100% owned by citizens of the United States.”

According to MARAD “The vessel will be financed pursuant to a Credit Agreement between JP Morgan Chase and River 1. Viking USA is not a party to the credit agreement, has no equity or ownership interest in the vessel, and has no right to control River 1 or its affiliates’ business, management or operations outside of the time charter.”

The legislation under which MARAD proposes to grant the permission “requires that the public be given an opportunity to provide comments to the agency for all such confirmation requests received by MARAD in Fiscal Year 2020 and thereafter. Interested parties may submit comments to [email protected] Comments may be submitted on or before August 29, 2021.”

Download the details of all that HERE

THE PRICE TAG

Meantime, according to the most recent filings on the Title XI ship mortgage guarantee program to be posted to the MARAD website, guarantees on $147,548,050 are being sought in relation to the vessel, wjich is being built at Chouest’s LaShip yard in Houma at a total cost of $173,585,941.

What sort of vessel will that buy? Here’s what Viking says::

Hosting 386 guests in 193 all outside staterooms, the new state-of-the-art, Jones Act compliant, Viking Mississippi is inspired by Viking’s award-winning river and ocean ships and will feature clean Scandinavian design, as well as public spaces that have been reimagined for Mississippi River voyages. Purpose-built for the Mississippi, the five-deck ship’s cutting-edge design, expansive windows and comfortable amenities will, says Viking, make it the most modern cruise ship in the region. It will also, says Viking, be the most environmentally friendly passenger ship on the Mississippi River. In addition to a hybrid propulsion solution, sustainabilty features will include solar panels, LED lighting and floor-to-ceiling windows that maximize natural light

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