MSC Group will collaborate with shipbuilder Fincantieri and Snam, an Italian energy infrastructure company, to design and construct what would become the world's first oceangoing, hydrogen-powered cruise ship.

The companies joined forces to carry out a study assessing the feasibility of building such a ship along with the development of hydrogen bunkering infrastructure.

A hydrogen-powered ship would allow zero-emissions operations in certain areas: hydrogen can be produced without fossil fuels, MSC said, and be emissions-free on a full lifecycle basis.

• Related: MSC partners with Fincantieri on new Miami cruise terminal

As per the terms of the agreement, over the next 12 months the three companies will study key factors related to the development of oceangoing, hydrogen-powered cruise ships, including arranging ships to accommodate H2 technologies and fuel cells, technical parameters of onboard systems, calculating the potential greenhouse gas emissions savings and a technical and economic analysis of hydrogen supply and infrastructure.

Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of the Cruise Division of MSC Group, said that currently, hydrogen production levels are low and that hydrogen fuel "is still far from being available at scale."

"With this project, we're taking the lead to bring this promising technology to our fleet and the industry while sending the strongest possible signal to the market about how seriously we take our environmental commitments," Vago said. "As we advance with the development of the maritime technology required, we will also see that energy providers take note and ramp up production to unlock this and that governments and the public sector step in to provide the necessary support for a project that is critical to the decarbonization of cruising and shipping."

The move is part of MSC's commitment to achieving net carbon neutral operations by 2050.

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