Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri has signed a contract with France's SNCM to build a 44,500 gt ferry to be used mainly on the Marseilles to North Africa routes.
The new vessel will be 574 ft. (175 m) long and able to transport 2,200 passengers in 470 cabins and 320 pullman seats. The ferry will also accommodate 700 cars, a Fincantieri spokesperson said.
No financial details were given, but industry sources said the contract was worth around $126 million.
The ferry will be built in Fincantieri's Ancona yard and delivered in spring 2002.
"This contract confirms the company's presence in the large ferry market sector, at present there are nine ferries in our orderbook," said Fincantieri Managing Director Pier Francesco Guarguaglini.
SNCM operates a fleet of 10 conventional ferries plus two high-speed ferries on routes to and from Corsica, Algiers and Tunisia, and seasonally offers a service with Sardinia.