UK’s Port of Southampton in upgrade mode to prepare for the arrival of Carnival’s LNG-powered liner

Image: Port of Southampton

The UK’s Port of Southampton has announced upgrade plans as it is preparing for the arrival of P&O Cruises’, which is a unit of Carnival Corporation, newest liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered flagship from Spring 2020.

The project, being carried out in partnership with Southampton-based Carnival UK, is worth 12 million British pounds ($15.6m) and is due to begin in October, according to a statement by the Port of Southampton.

The one-year-long programme will see the port’s Ocean Terminal transformed to accommodate a growing demand for cruise ships to dock in the city, including the LNG-powered Iona.

This will allow the LNG-powered vessel to home port in Southampton from Spring 2020.

To remind, Iona is currently being built at Germany’s Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg and is expected to be launched in May 2020.

The vessel would be the first British cruise ship to be powered by LNG, paving the way for the future of cruising, the statement notes.

ABP Southampton director Alastair Welch said in the statement they “are very supportive of cruise lines embracing LNG power for their vessels.”

Carnival UK VP port & shore operations, Steven Young said that “bigger ships introduce greater operational complexity and we are pleased to be working alongside ABP and our port community on this series of improvements to the terminal ahead of welcoming Iona in 2020.”

Iona is the first of two new vessels of this class for P&O Cruises, with the next ship on order to be delivered in 2022.

The additional work to accommodate these new vessels, each of them with a capacity of 5,200 guests, will increase the passenger capacity at the terminal by 50 percent, the statement said.

Along with infrastructure improvements to the quayside and within the terminal itself, the existing 2,000 roof-mounted solar panel facility will be expanded.

The Port of Southampton currently welcomes over 2 million passengers each year on more than 500 cruise calls.

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