SunStone Ships, the largest tonnage provider in the expedition market, announced the successful launch of their first next-generation, INFINITYclass vessel. With a goal of marrying European design and quality with Chinese ship-building efficiency, the INFINITY-class delivers cutting-edge design, innovations like X-bow technology, and significant operating efficiencies.
Niels-Erik Lund, President and CEO of SunStone Ships stated "We are extremely pleased that the GREG MORTIMER is on time, built to spec, and reflects the high-quality workmanship we expected. This vessel is the embodiment of many leaps forward in technology, safety and efficiency."
Attending the launch were representatives from the owners of Aurora Expeditions, charterers of the vessel, as well as the management of Aurora Expeditions. Also in attendance were representatives from many of the partners in the project; Ulstein Design and Solutions, Makinen Oy, Tillberg Design International, Bureau Veritas, Stephenson Harwood and SunStone Marine Advisors.
"For SunStone, it is very exciting to see the first INFINITY CLASS vessel in the water. This is the realisation of a dream, and an opportunity to showcase our partners' commendable work," stated Niels-Erik Lund. The GREG MORTIMER will begin cruises at the end of October from Ushuaia to Antarctica.
Simultaneous to the launch of the GREG MORTIMER, the shipyard hosted the steel cutting for the OCEAN VICTORY which is chartered out to Albatros Travel, Denmark for winter seasons in Antarctica, and to American Queen Steamboat Company for summer season operation in Alaska.
INFINITY-class vessels are 104-metres-long, 18-metres-wide with a draft of 5.1 metres. The vessels feature a passenger capacity between 130 and 200 and a crew complement between 85 and115. The vessels are Ice-Class 1A; Polar Code 6 and are being built with Safe Return to Port, Dynamic Positioning and Zero-Speed Stabilizers.
So far, SunStone ships have ordered five vessels, GREG MORTIMER, OCEAN DISCOVERER, OCEAN VICTORY, OCEAN EXPLORER and OCEAN ODYSSEY. It is expected that two more shipbuilding contracts will be signed within the next two months and the remaining three options will be signed within 2019. Vessel deliveries begin with the GREG MORTIMER in August 2019, and will continue with the remaining nine vessels through August 2023.
This launch is part of the ten-vessel Framework Agreement with China Merchants Heavy Industries. "We are very pleased with the relationship with China Merchants Group, and the development and speed with which we are signing these new-build contracts", stated Lund.
Please visit SunStone Ships' website: www.sunstoneships.com to view photographs from the launching and the Steel Cutting Ceremony, as well as 3-D renderings of the vessels' interior and exterior.
About SunStone: SunStone Ships commercially manage a fleet of eight expedition/luxury cruise vessels, all on long-term charters. The company's expertise lies in chartering out the vessels to cruise lines, tour operators and travel companies, maximising their results. The technical and hotel management are offered by SunStone's associated companies, Cruise
Management International, Inc., and CMI Leisure, Inc. Learn more about SunStone on the company's website: www.sunstoneships.com.