SunStone Ships has signed an agreement for China Merchants Industry Holdings (CMIH) to build a third of its Infinity-class expedition ships. It will be built at CMIH’s shipyard China Merchants Heavy Industry.
In a statement released today (6 June) SunStone chief executive Niels-Erik Lund said that the ship will be delivered in March 2021 and will be called Ocean Victory.
A total of 20 representatives from seven companies were involved in a three-day meeting in the Paris office of SunStone’s legal advisor Stephenson Harwood before the contract was signed.
PST is seeking clarification about the status of this contract and one signed in April for a second ship, since SunStone has previously advised that it already holds a contract for four vessels with CMIH’s parent group, options for an additional six.
PST understands that, although building contracts are in place, individual building starts are only being agreed once charters for the ships are confirmed. In an exclusive interview with PST published in May, Mr Lund was confident the options will also become firm orders. “We do not order ships unless we have charters [and] we have a lot of good negotiations going on with charterers.”
The only charterer so far named is Aurora Cruises of Australia, which will operate the first vessel, Greg Mortimer, when it is delivered in August next year. Operational management arrangements for Ocean Victory have been confirmed, however: technical management has been placed with Cruise Management International and hotel operations will be handled by CMI Leisure, both based in Miami.
In today’s statement, Mr Lund said he was pleased “with the rapid adoption of the Infinity-class vessels. It seems our European design and technology, combined with lower overall operating costs ticks all the boxes for the small and expedition ship market.”