Brittany Ferries’ 2nd LNG-powered E-Flexer launched in China

Brittany Ferries’ newest LNG-powered E-Flexer cruise ferry, Salamanca, was launched at CMI Jingling shipyard in Weihai, China, on 6 January 2021.

Brittany Ferries
Image Courtesy: Brittany Ferries

The ferry is the second of three E-Flexer class ships chartered by French shipping company Brittany Ferries from Sweden’s Stena RoRo and will join its sister vessel Galicia which entered service in December 2020.

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As explained, fleet renewal is one of the pillars of Brittany Ferries’ five-year recovery plan. The investment in new ships was made well before the pandemic began but the company expects that a trio of cleaner, more efficient and comfortable vessels will help secure its future, ensuring the continuity of passenger and freight services.

“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,” Jean-Marc Roué, president of Brittany Ferries, commented.

“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 scheduled to join Galicia in 2022, with the third ship, Santoña, following 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.

Each E-Flexer vessel promises a significant reduction in air quality and greenhouse gas emissions. They are also smoother, quieter and benefit from less vibration with better sea handling.

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 cbm storage tank to ensure an uninterrupted supply for Salamanca and Santoña.

“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,” Christophe Mathieu, chief executive at Brittany Ferries, stressed.

Aside from fuel, all E-Flexer vessels have been designed with the environment and efficiency in mind. Particular attention has been given to fuel-efficient propulsion plants and long, slender hull and bow design. Friction-reducing silicon paint that coats the underwater hull further reduces fuel consumption while propeller and rudder design brings improved manoeuvrability, according to the company.

Salamanca is equipped with two Wartsila 12V46DF engines generating 13,740 kW each. Thanks to energy recovery, electricity production on board comes with low CO2 emissions. Alternators installed on shaft lines produce energy even at very low speeds, which means the ship’s electrical generators are only needed when the ship is alongside.

Bow thrusters work in harmony with articulated rudders, making it possible to facilitate the tightest turns in the harbour. There is no need for stern thrusters. Fin stabilisers have already proved effective on sister-ship Galicia, minimising roll and smoothing the choppiest of seas through the Bay of Biscay.

This combination of LNG propulsion, efficient design and greater carrying capacity, compared with the ships Salamanca will replace, means a significant reduction in carbon footprint on Brittany Ferries’ long-haul services between the UK and Spain, Brittany Ferries said.

Like its sister, Salamanca will weigh-in at over 42,000 gross tonnes. That means the ferry will be one of the largest ships ever to serve the company, and at 215 metres long it will be joint-longest. It will carry 1,015 passengers, with over 2.7 kilometres of lane-space to house passenger and freight vehicles.