Feature, Freight News, Sea

Brittany orders UK’s first gas-powered ferry

[ January 16, 2014   //   ]

UK/France ro ro operator Brittany Ferries has become the first cross-Channel ferry line to order a new vessel powered by liquified natural gas (LNG) on its routes from the UK to Santander and Bilbao in northern Spain. The €270 million (£225m) ship will be built by STX France in St Nazaire and will enter service in late spring 2017.

Ferry and short sea operators have been grappling with the problem of how to comply with tough new limits on sulphur emissions that come into force in the Channel and North Sea from 1 January 2015. These will force operators to convert or buy LNG-powered vessels, switch existing ships from heavy marine oil to more expensive diesel fuel or fit exhaust scrubbers to ships that continue to burn marine oil.

LNG is seen as the most effective long-term solution, albeit an expensive one as few existing ships are suitable for retrofitting. Britanny Ferries says that LNG emits about 25% per cent less carbon dioxide than marine fuel oil and burns with no smoke. It is entirely free of sulphur and is very low in nitrogen oxide emissions.

Brittany Ferries and STX France have been co-operating for two years on a study for an LNG. The new ship will replace Brittany Ferries’ current flagship, Pont-Aven, which will move to the Portsmouth – St Malo route providing extra freight capacity.

Compared with the Pont-Aven, the new LNG ship will have a much larger vehicle capacity, as well as the latest passenger comforts such as free Wi-Fi throughout the ship.

Brittany’s group freight director, Simon Wagstaff, commented: “This order represents a huge investment and a long-term commitment by Brittany Ferries to its highly successful services to Santander and Bilbao. Furthermore, the range and quality of facilities provided for freight drivers will set Brittany Ferries apart from its competitors.”

Tags: , , ,