26 September 2014
Watson, Farley & Williams (“WFW”), a leading international law firm, is pleased to announce that it has advised shipping company MSC Cruises (“MSC”) on its “Renaissance Programme”, including the lengthening and refurbishment of four of its cruise ships. The first ship to undergo the works is the MSC Armonia, which is being extended by 24 metres at Fincantieri shipyard in Sicily by inserting a new pre-built mid-ship section into the vessel.
WFW advised MSC on both the contracts with Fincantieri shipyard in regards to the lengthening procedure, and the financing of the lengthening programme, which is backed by Italian export credit agency SACE.
The impressive feat of engineering involves the ships being cut in two in dry dock, with the 14,000 tonnes bow section moved 30 metres away from the stern section on rails, allowing the pre-built, 2,200 tonnes mid-ship section to be inserted in between.
MSC Cruises is a division of Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A.. In addition to being lengthened, the MSC Armonia will receive a new hull treatment in order to improve fuel efficiency, LED lighting in all public spaces to cut down on power consumption, and various other improvements. A newly designed propeller blade is also being developed to maximise efficiency and lower fuel consumption.
The WFW London team was led by partner and Head of Maritime Lindsey Keeble, who advised on the financing, supported by senior associate Kate Silverstein. Maritime partner Michael Greville advised MSC on the contracts with the shipyard.
London partner Lindsey Keeble, said: “This deal brought together WFW’s expertise in advising shipping companies on both the contractual and financing side of deals, which was especially important given the novel nature of this aspect of MSC’s enhancement programme. WFW is also very experienced in advising on ECA-backed financings, which have been an important source of finance in the maritime sector in recent years.”