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  • Barreras announces the order for two more "ultra-luxury" vessels for The Ritz-Carlton.

Barreras announces the order for two more "ultra-luxury" vessels for The Ritz-Carlton.

The shipyard charmed this hotel brand during the launch of what will be its first vessel.

The largest civil order in the history of Spanish shipbuilding has been set afloat since 17:10 hours yesterday at the pier of the Hijos de J. Barreras Shipyard. Even though the delivery date is one year from now, the structure and implementation status of the vessel marvelled the owner, The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, which will increase its fleet with two more units to raise the offer via its fully owned subsidiary of maritime transport. And it is this centenary Vigo shipyard which has the new macro-order almost guaranteed, for the price of 250 million per vessel. This will imply a sum total of two million work hours for the shipyard and the auxiliary industry staff and more than 86,000 compensated gross tons (CGT), which, for instance, surpasses the new contracts signed by the Dutch shipbuilding industry throughout 2017. "We are presently working together for two more units now only with this shipyard", said Douglas Prothero, CEO of the vessel owner firm. They will be delivered in 2020 and 2021.

Both Prothero and the overall director for real estate at Marriott International, Timothy Grisius, were all praises for Barreras and the auxiliary industry during the launch of the first vessel, presently still called by its provisional name C-1705. "Today is a special day for Barreras, Vigo, Galicia and Spain. And an incredible day for The Ritz-Carlton; we could have never imagined this, but it is a reality today," said the CEO of the shipping company. Grisius particularly appreciated the design of the vessel, with its 190 metre length and 23.4 metre breadth. "We always want the best for our guests, and I hope they enjoy this journey with us". This ultra-luxury cruise liner, the first of its kind built by a Spanish shipyard, will have a capacity for 298 passengers and 246 crew members. This is the vessel with the highest service ratio per passenger in the entire market, in order to provide "very exclusive” attention. All cabins will have an outdoor terrace – works on the luxury rooms were awarded to the Vigo company Navaliber-. The interior of the vessel, as well as its final name, are still a guarded secret.

The vessel was launched nine months after laying its 118 tonne keel and three weeks ahead of schedule of the initial construction program. This is an aspect that the yacht owner has appreciated enthusiastically. "We thank you for your effort and the long hours of work and sacrifice" said Prothero in his speech, which was heard by hundreds of employees and family members, as well as bystanders who gathered in front of the Barreras shipyard doors almost an hour in advance. "A vessel of this type -explained staff sources- would normally take more than two years to build in the shipyard, but ship-owners are increasingly cutting deadlines short ". Both the shipyard and the auxiliary industry have been able to comply with the deadlines by using three eight-hour shifts, and working at weekends. "This is the adaptation of the flexibility mechanisms that the automotive industry applies, and we will also have to do so more and more". The first Ritz-Carlton ultra-luxury cruise liner will be delivered in October 2019; the ship’s log will record its first official journey on 5th February, 2020, a voyage of 10 days between Fort Lauderdale (Florida) and Bridgetown (Barbados). It will have a 24 hour stopover in Vigo on 29th June, as exclusively announced by Faro de Vigo.

More orders

In contrast to other similar events, there was no godmother or bottle yesterday - "these are new traditions in the cruise ship sector," said the president of the shipyard, José García Costas. Barreras will have to get used to this because, besides the order for two vessels with The Ritz-Carlton, it has already signed an order for two other passenger ships with Norway’s Havilah Kystruten shipyard. In this case, the vessels will have a length of 125 metres and a breadth of 20 metres. They will be fitted with hybrid propulsion (liquefied natural gas and batteries) to reduce both emissions (by 25%) and noise. Each vessel is valued at €150 million, and together with the ferry order that will be signed on Thursday with the shipping company Armas, they will increase the order book backlog of Hijos de J. Barriers to four vessels and €450 million.

It is imminent that García Costas will arrive in Madrid on Thursday to sign the agreement with Armas in the presence of a Notary. The shipyard’s two slipways will be occupied with the construction of the first passenger ship for Havilah and the ferry for Armas. We have the capacity to build everything we are signing now", said an emphatic president of the company, who opened the door to outsourcing to another shipyard, to build the hull of one of the Norwegian cruise liners. "If anyone thinks this is easy,¬ he said referring to the award of contracts- then they do not know anything about this sector. Building a vessel worth 10 or 15 million is complicated but building one worth 250 million means having to get bank guarantees to support the vessel owner until the time of delivery. This is very difficult".

During his speech at the launch of the vessel, García Costas received a standing ovation from the public when he praised the work of personnel from the shipyard. "You have all made this moment possible, your effort has not been in vain". The ceremony was in fact almost a eulogy to the shipbuilding industry. "This ship is a true milestone, both in terms of investment and its technical complexity, and clearly shows the talent of the professionals", said the Regional Minister of Economy, Francisco Conde, for whom Barreras has once again demonstrated its "relevance" in the Galician shipbuilding sector. He also conveyed a message from the President of the Region, Mr. Alberto Núñez Feijoo, who could not make it because of the debate on the State of the Autonomy. The message praised the "confidence" of ship-owners like The Ritz-Carlton in the Galician industry. "I want you to feel proud just like us", culminated the Mayor of Vigo, Mr. Abel Caballero. The event ended with the blessing of the vessel by Bishop Luis Quinteiro from the diocese of Tui-Vigo.

(Source: Faro de Vigo)

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