View Full Version : US Passenger ship to be built in France

12-28-2012, 04:49 AM
The STX France Shipyard, in St Nazaire, just signed a one billion + euros contract with the Royal Caribbean International US Company to build a huge passenger ship.
Nice news for French economy, I'm very happy about that.

But I wonder why a US shipyard didn't have the contract assuming labor cost in France is much more expensive than in US, according to social taxes.

Any clue?


Clan Gordon
12-28-2012, 05:52 AM
Building cruise ships is a very specialised business. Only a small number of yards in Finland, Germany, Italy and France (and occasionally Japan) are considered suitable for such projects. A huge network of subcontractors (especially on the hotel outfit) is required to build these things efficiently.

Even the Koreans (the world's most efficient shipbuilders) have failed to break into this market in a big way (hence the reason why STX of Korea bought into the ownership of yards in Norway, Finland and France).

If one was a US cruise ship owner, building ships for trading between US ports only - then one would be forced to build in a US shipyard - due to the JONES ACT.

This act protects US yards from international competition, which probably does not drive them in the direction of greatest efficiency. Instead the big US yards build warships - and (in any country) this type of work reduces efficiency when tackling commercial projects.

This lack of international activity/exposure/competitiveness is why an international owner like RCCL (Norwegian origins) would not consider a US yard. Incidentally, RCCL have a long history with St Nazaire (Chantiers de l'Atlantique) as that is where they built the ground breaking Sovereign of the Seas back in the 1980s.

The last time a US yard tried to build modern cruise ships (Ingalls Shipyard, for Project America) it ended in disaster - with the project getting more than one year late in the first year of construction. Eventually it was cancelled. The uncompleted vessels/parts were eventually taken to Europe (Germany) and completed there. Bear in mind that Project America had US government/security backing (at least initially).


You can also find an entry on Project America on Wikipedia.

Oyvind Snibsoer
12-28-2012, 06:38 AM
There was a pretty good discussion on this subject quite a few years back.


Aker Philadelphia Shipyard, mentioned in the thread, seems to focus entirely on ships for the Jones Act market. Dunno why it was kept out of the portfolio when STX purchased the bulk of Aker Yards ASA.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
12-28-2012, 06:47 AM
My word! Thanks for preserving that thread, Oyvind - I reckon it is one of our best, and shows just how much international expertise this place can rustle up on a good day!

How's Svalbard treating you?

Oyvind Snibsoer
12-28-2012, 07:46 AM
Excellent, thank you. Except that I got bitten by the Arctic a few days ago. Ventured out to finally set the fox traps after we received a good showering of snow just before Christmas. The temperature was fair when I left, around -16 C, but dropped to around -30 C in Reindalen - i.e. Reindeer Valley. My hands got cold and I stopped to change to a fresh pair of mittens, but obviously a little too late. I suspect the throttle/thumb warmer on my snowmobile may also be bad and played a part, but in any event I did manage to get a nice little frostbitten, blistered thumb. Nevermind, I'll just have to go shopping for the warmest mittens on the island, since my thumb will be far more susceptible to frostbite at least for the rest of this winter.

Except for that minor snag, the trip was magnificent. We won't see much of the sun for another month or so, but the landscape was lit up by the most beautiful moonlight and aurora borealis dancing over the clear skies. Lots of fresh, deep snow, so it took me five hours to complete the 100 km round trip to the trapping area.

Apart from that, after working for 6 months as a construction worker / carpenter in the coal mine, I did by a stroke of very good luck manage to land a job as a business systems developer for a local logistics / port agency company. Besides doing computer and programming work, I'm regularly kicked out of the office to moor cruise ships, drive delivery trucks and do the odd 400 km snowmobile trip to deliver supplies to various expeditions around the island. As a bonus, I also get to fool around with mooring and pilot boats from time to time, and the company is paying for my limited captain's license. All in all a much more interesting, varied and also much less stressful life than the rat race on the mainland.


12-28-2012, 07:52 AM
My word! Thanks for preserving that thread, Oyvind - I reckon it is one of our best, and shows just how much international expertise this place can rustle up on a good day!


John Smith
12-28-2012, 08:17 AM
I just saw an ad for Disney's new cruise ship. I'm sure it wasn' built here, either.

I remember my dad complaining when the Brooklyn Navy Yard closed.