German shipbuilder MV Werften is receiving nearly $200 million in emergency aid from a consortium of 17 banks according to reports in the German media and statements from the regional Minister of Economic Affairs. According to government officials, the actions were taken to save the jobs of many highly skilled workers and to ensure that the yard’s suppliers would be paid on time.
The current aid is designed to work as a bridge providing the yard short-term assistance to meet expenses and pay supplies during the next three months. The Germany government is also putting in place a longer-term plan to provide assistance to the shipyards and other industries that were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is anticipated that MV Werften will receive more than $600 million in additional support in September when the German Government’s federal program becomes available.
Established in 2016 when Genting Hong Kong acquired shipbuilders in Wismar, Rostock, and Stralsund in former East Germany, MV Werften is building cruise ships for Genting’s ocean and river cruise operations. In the first three years, the company invested more than $250 million to develop the capabilities and modernize the yard facilities. This included a new building hall for large ships, improvements to the quay, and new production shops including an advanced welding facility and a cabin manufacturing plant.
Construction began in 2016 with four river cruise ships for Crystal Cruises that were delivered in 2017 followed by beginning construction on an expedition cruise ship for Crystal Cruises. In September 2018, work commenced on two of the world’s largest cruise ships, the 204,000 gross ton Global Class cruise ships for Genting’s Dream Cruises. Work was proceeding along with further efforts to expand the shipyard with the expedition ship due for delivery early in 2020 and the large cruise ships scheduled for delivery in 2021 and 2022.
In March 2020, MV Werften was forced to cease production due to the coronavirus announcing that it expected to resume operations in four weeks. However, in April the yard said that it would delay its resumption of production until supply chains could again flow freely across borders and social distancing requirements were not interrupting workflow. MV Werften later announced that it was continuing its suspension until the end of June but in May began testing production activities under the new hygiene requirements.
The current reports did not provide details on plans for resuming work at the shipyard or changes on the anticipated delivery dates for any of the ships. Crystal Cruises had previously announced it was delaying the introduction of its expedition cruise ship until the end of 2020.
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