Tripartite partnership to explore design of zero-emission ferry

French ferry operator Brittany Ferries, Finnish technology company Wärtsilä and Australian manufacturer of high-speed catamaran ferries Incat Tasmania have signed a partnership deal to explore design and technical requirements for a 137-meter zero-emissions craft.

Brittany Ferries

The project comes as Brittany Ferries nears completion of the biggest fleet renewal program. Five new vessels will become part of the fleet between 2020 and 2025, including two liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered ships (currently in service) and two shore-power-ready LNG-electric hybrids.

Brittany Ferries

The deal includes the design and construction of fast craft, all aspects of engineering and technical needs, and experience in operating a large and diverse fleet.

Wärtsilä is a supplier to all five new ships in Brittany Ferries’ ongoing fleet renewal project. This includes LNG engines that power Salamanca, which joined the fleet in 2022, and Santoña in 2023.

In addition, Wärtsilä is installing LNG-hybrid drivetrains for hybrid vessels currently under construction and set to sail for Europe by the end of this year.

Brittany Ferries took delivery of an Incat fast-ferry in 2005. Under the name Normandie Express, the ship traveled from Tasmania to France and served the company until 2021.

The vessel is currently under charter from Brittany Ferries to Condor Ferries operating with the name Condor Voyager. It operates St Malo – Channel Islands routes.

“This is an important project as we look at different ways to reach net zero by 2050,” said Christophe Mathieu, CEO of Brittany Ferries.

“All-electric power is a potential solution, best suited to shorter ferry routes. At this stage we don’t know what is feasible, and upon which route, but what we can say is that trusted partners will help us scope it out. Upon completion of the project we can move quickly. Brittany Ferries has a track record of walking the talk when it comes to leading the industry on sustainable ferry travel, as our investment in LNG and hybrid ships shows.”

“Ferries play a vital role in meeting the growing demand for environmentally sustainable transport options, and the investment Wärtsilä makes in R&D to develop technologies and integrated solutions are key in enabling this development,” added Roger Holm, President of Wärtsilä Marine and Executive Vice President at Wärtsilä Corporation. 

“This is why we are proud to have been selected to support Brittany Ferries in their goal of bringing cleaner vessels to the regions in which they operate. As a leader in shaping the decarbonisation of the marine industry, we value our long-term relationship with both Brittany Ferries and Incat, sharing a joint commitment to accelerate the industry towards net-zero emissions shipping.”

“Incat has long standing and successful relationships with Brittany Ferries and Wärtsilä, built upon shared values and a vision for innovation and environmental sustainability,” added Stephen Casey, Chief Executive Officer Incat.

“We know that battery electric propulsion coupled with lightweight aluminium vessels is the ideal choice to eliminate emissions, and we are thrilled to be continuing our relationship with both Brittany Ferries and Wärtsilä as we collectively lead the next evolution of sustainable maritime transport throughout Europe.”

Incat recently partnered with Danish ferry and logistics company DFDS to complete a design study for the construction of a new electric-hybrid ferry. The 72-meter ferry, which will have the option to convert to fully electric, is suited to a number of ferry routes across Europe.

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