STX Europe shipbuilding wins big order, vital for yard

October 25, 2010 | 17:25
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Shipbuilding company STX Europe announced on Monday a big order for a giant cruise ferry which will keep activity alive in a Finnish yard with an empty order book by providing work for about 2,600 people.

STX Europe said it had signed a preliminary deal worth 240 million euros ($337 million ) for one of its Finnish yards.

South Korean conglomerate STX took control of the Norway-based shipbuilder Aker Yards in 2008 and subsequently changed its name to STX Europe.

The giant ship will be built for the Baltic passenger cruise line Viking Line, with scheduled delivery at the beginning of 2013, the Oslo-based company said.

For the shipyard in the western city of Turku, the deal amounts to much-needed work representing the equivalent of about 2,600 jobs at a time when the order book was empty.

On Thursday, STX hands over the "Allure of the Seas", which along with its twin ship is the world's biggest passenger cruise ship, to its owner Royal Caribbean International.

For months, employers and workers have been bracing for the yard to fall silent after the handover, but Viking Line's order has breathed new life into an industry which has been in serious financial difficulties in Finland.

"An actively operating shipyard is also a much more competitive partner than an empty one when we are competing on new cruise ship projects," STX Finland's President Juha Heikinheimo said in a statement.

The new ship will be the most environmentally-friendly big passenger vessel to date, the company said, and will be 210 metres (689 feet) long and have room for 2,800 passengers and 200 crew members.

Engineers will immediately begin designing the ship in Turku, but the actual building of the ship will not begin until the second half of 2011.


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