Fincantieri has signed a letter of intent with Italian shipping company Grimaldi Group for the lengthening and modification of two ferries, Cruise Roma and Cruise Barcelona.

The deal includes the construction of two mid-body sections on the vessels at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Palermo, Italy.

The work is scheduled to begin this year and is expected to be completed by next year.

Cruise Roma and Cruise Barcelona, which are currently being deployed to provide daily services in Italy’s Civitavecchia-Porto Torres-Barcelona route, were built by Fincantieri in Castellammare di Stabia and delivered in 2007 and 2008, respectively.

The 54,000t vessels are 225m long and are capable of transporting about 3,000 passengers. They are equipped with 2,400m² of car decks and around 3,000 linear metres of space for heavy vehicles.

Under the proposed modification, the vessels will receive nearly 600 additional linear metres for heavy vehicles, 80 sleeping accommodations in new passenger cabins, and two new public spaces with a total capacity of 450 Pullman beds.

“The 54,000t vessels are 225m long and are capable of transporting about 3,000 passengers.”

A new ‘family self-service’ restaurant with about 270 seats will also be placed in the 29m-long lengthening section.

Additional refurbishment works on the existing public areas will also be carried out, and the ship’s safety equipment will be implemented to handle the increased passenger transport capacity.

Fincantieri’s Ship Repair and Conversion division will conduct the lengthening work, which is set to lengthen each ship to about 254m.

The lengthening will also add a gross tonnage of nearly 63,000t capacity and will enable the ships to transport 3,500 passengers each.

A 3,000m² car deck and over 3,600 linear metres for heavy vehicles will also be added under the work.

New solutions such as a scrubber system for the exhaust gas cleaning, as well as a system to power the ship during the turnaround time in ports, will be installed with an aim to reduce the environmental impact and save energy.