Miami-based SunStone Ships has announced that it has signed a Framework Agreement with China Merchants Industry Holdings for the construction of four ice-class expedition vessels to be built in China.
The agreement includes options for up to ten total vessels.
Sunstone Ships is provider of expedition vessels to the cruise and travel industry by tonnage, with a fleet of ten small expedition cruise ships. The newbuild vessels will be part of the SunStone Fleet and chartered to new and existing clients of the company.
CMIH, a unit of China Merchants Group, one of the largest corporations in China, has entered into an agreement with Ulstein Design & Solutions, part of Ulstein Group, to supply the design and equipment package for the vessel as well as provide supervision over the construction of the vessel.
Illustrations of the expedition vessel published by SunStone shows the vessel having Ulstein’s patented X-BOW hull design, which is yet to be used in a cruise ship design.
CMIH has also entered into an agreement with Mäkinen, Finland, one of the leading contractors of cabin and interior public spaces for cruise ships. Mäkinen will set up a cabin assembly plant and interior workshop at the shipyard’s facilities, and will be responsible for all interior spaces on the newbuilds. The ‘hotel’ design of the new vessels will be carried out by Tomas Tillberg Design, a passenger vessel design firm who has worked with SunShine for a number of years.
SunStone did not provide any information regarding final contracts or expected delivery dates.