Finnish shipping company Viking Line has entered into a letter of intent (LoI) with China’s Xiamen Shipbuilding Industry regarding an order for a new liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered passenger vessel.

Both companies are planning to finalise the deal by next year.

The recently signed LoI also includes the option for an additional vessel.

"Our intention is for the vessel to run on liquefied natural gas."

To be manufactured with an investment of €190m, the new LNG vessel is scheduled to be delivered by 2020.

Once completed, the 218m long vessel will be deployed between the Turku and Åland Islands, Finland; and Stockholm, Sweden.

Viking Line is planning to hire Scandinavian architects to design the interior of the vessel, which will feature a gross registered tonnage of 63,000t and can carry 2,800 people.

Viking Line CEO Jan Hanses said: “Our intention is for the vessel to run on liquefied natural gas (LNG). We have excellent experience with this from the M/S Viking Grace, the first large LNG-powered passenger vessel in the world.

“Great emphasis has been placed in the planning work on environmentally sound solutions, including new innovative energy-efficient applications.

“Many years of planning work have gone into this newbuilding project in conjunction with the European Union’s Motorways of the Seas project under the scope of the Connecting Europe Facility funding instrument, which has also included the Port of Turku and the Ports of Stockholm.”

Various Finnish and European suppliers, such as Deltamarin, Wärtsilä, ABB Marine and others will also be involved in the manufacturing of the vessel.

In January this year, Viking Line announced a plan to modernise its entire fleet by investing €8m.

Image: A cruising Viking Line ship. Photo: courtesy of Viking Line ABP .