A launch ceremony for the first LNG-powered ferry to serve the UK – Brittany Ferries’ Salamanca – took place on 6 January at the CMJL shipyard in Weihai.
The Salamanca is the second of three E-Flexer class ships ordered by Brittany Ferries. Sister ship Galicia started operating in December 2020; the Salamanca enters service in the spring of 2022; and the Santoña will follow in 2023.
Both Salamanca and Santoña will be powered by LNG and will serve the company’s long-distance routes connecting the UK with Spain.
The facilities for storing LNG will be supplied by Repsol in Spain. Under the terms of the agreement, the fuel company will build two quayside LNG bunkering terminals in the ports of Santander and Bilbao, including a 1,000 cubic metre (CBM) storage tank to ensure uninterrupted supply for Salamanca and Santoña.
In a statement issued yesterday (11 January), Jean-Marc Roué, president Brittany Ferries, said: ‘In spite of Brexit and Covid which have cost our company several hundred million euros already, I am resolved to remain on our path towards eco-responsibility and energy transition.
‘It is a formal commitment I’ve made: we will continue, despite these crises, to reduce our carbon footprint, to keep on improving our fleet and to contribute to the development of the regions we serve. Salamanca is a good illustration of this. By renewing our fleet today, we are ensuring a return to growth tomorrow and Brittany Ferries and our partners remain confident in the future.’
Christophe Mathieu, chief executive Brittany Ferries, added: ‘Passengers expect more comfortable, cleaner, greener vessels and society rightly demands sustainability as standard. Shipping companies that fail to improve are therefore destined to fail.
‘It’s why these E-Flexer ships are so important as we look to emerge from the current crisis. Galicia, Salamanca and Santoña, are clear evidence that we are determined to sail towards a sustainable and a successful future.’
Brittany Ferries said that the E-Flexer vessels have been designed with ‘the environment and efficiency in mind’. They feature fuel-efficient propulsion plants; long, slender hull and bow design; friction-reducing silicon paint that coats the underwater hull, further reducing fuel consumption; and a propeller and rudder design which ‘brings improved manoeuvrability’.
The Salamanca is equipped with two Wartsila 12V46DF engines and an energy recovery system helps to lower CO2 emissions.
According to Brittany Ferries, the ‘combination of LNG propulsion, efficient design and greater carrying capacity, compared with the ships she will replace, means a significant reduction in carbon footprint on Brittany Ferries’ long-haul services between the UK and Spain’.