Photo: Brittany Ferries

Brittany Ferries orders two LNG-electric ferries

French shipping company Brittany Ferries has signed an agreement with Swedish ferry operator Stena RoRo for two new hybrid ferries.

As disclosed, the 194.7 meter-long E-Flexers will be built in China and operate on the same principle as a hybrid car.

At sea, the units will be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuel. But in a first on the English Channel, they will also operate partially or completely on battery power– for example when arriving and departing ports.

Furthermore, they will be ready to plug in to shore-side power when this is available in ports. This will allow recharging of onboard batteries and power for systems such as air conditioning, heating and lighting while at berth, cutting funnel emissions to zero.

As well as significantly cutting emissions, the hybrids will deliver less noise, less vibration for passengers, according to the company.

The vessels, which will operate on routes connecting Portsmouth with St Malo and Caen, will be chartered from Stena Roro on a ten-year agreement, with a purchase option after four years.

 “Our customers rightly demand cleaner, greener vessels and our port partners expect us to be good neighbours. Furthermore, we will certainly face tighter regulation in the years ahead. The future of our company depends upon our ability to rise to the challenge today, to prepare for tomorrow,” Christophe Mathieu, CEO Brittany Ferries said.

The units, which will replace two older vessels Bretagne and Normandie, are scheduled for delivery in 2024/2025.

The vessels will follow the deployment of Salamanca in 2022 and Santoña in 2023, both of which will be fuelled by LNG ready to serve UK-Spain routes.

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The move is part of Brittany Ferries’ fleet renewal plan, one of the pillars of its five-year post-Covid recovery strategy.

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Last month, the company also announced that it is exploring the potential for a new high-speed, sustainable and more efficient form of ferry travel called a seaglider.

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