A new 24-meter midsection for the existing MSC Armonia cruise ship was inserted into place today at the Fincantieri shipyard in Palermo, Sicily after the ship was cut in half as part of lengthening operation beginning earlier this month.
The MSC Armonia arrived at the Fincantieri shipyard on August 31 for the lengthening process, which began when the ship entered drydock and engineers started the cutting operation by marking the line in the ship that needed to be cut. The steel cutting was completed on Monday ahead of today’s physical lengthening, which saw the 14,000-ton bow section separated from the stern by 30 meters allowing space for the new 24-meter mid-section to be inserted.
The lengthening of the MSC Armonia is part of a €200 million “Renaissance Programme”, which will lengthen and enhance four vessels in the MSC fleet, including the MSC Armonia, MSC Sinfonia, MSC Opera and MSC Lirica. The four ships were built between 2003 and 2005 at the STX yards in Saint-Nazaire, France and are currently 251 meters long, weigh 60,000 tons and carry 2,069 travelers. After the so-called “renaissance programme”, the ships will be 275 meters long, weigh 65,000 tons and carry 2,680 travelers, with 194 additional passenger cabins plus 59 new crew cabins, among some other upgrades and enhancements.
Prefabrication of the new 2,200-ton midship section began at the shipyard this summer and the section was floated earlier this week.
The entire operation is expected to take 11 weeks from start to finish. The MSC Armonia is expected to return to service on November 17th for a one-off inaugural Mediterranean cruise from Genoa to the Canary Islands.
The next three ships are to be lengthened over the next year.