Wärtsilä to power CMA CGM’s LNG-fueled RoPax ferry duo

Finnish technology group Wärtsilä has revealed it will supply engines, fuel gas supply system and thrusters for two new RoPax ferries being built for French operator La Méridionale, a subsidiary of French shipping heavyweight CMA CGM.

La Méridionale

For each ship, Wärtsilä will supply two 12-cylinder, one 10-cylinder and one 8-cylinder Wärtsilä 31DF engines. The ships will be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The two vessels will use Wärtsilä’s NextDF technology, which will be implemented in the Wärtsilä 31DF engines. While operating on LNG, the NextDF version of the Wärtsilä 31DF further reduces methane emissions and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions (compared to the already emission-efficient standard Wärtsilä 31DF), according to the Finnish company.

The scope of Wärtsilä’s supply for this contract also includes the Wärtsilä LNGPac, a fuel gas supply system for LNG-fueled ships, as well as Wärtsilä’s thrusters.

The vessels, which have been specifically designed to minimize emissions, are to be built at the China Merchants Jinling Shipyard (Weihai). They will operate between Marseille and Corsica. The order with Wärtsilä was booked in April 2024.

Ferries are among the first sectors to target net zero-carbon operations. However, ferry operators face increasing pressure from clients who continue to expect a fast and cost-efficient service, which runs to a timetable, and is increasingly sustainable, Wärtsilä noted.

Ferry operators, such as La Méridionale, are looking for technologies that offer minimal service disruption and maximize return on investment, all while reducing carbon footprint, according to Wärtsilä.

“The design of these two Ropax vessels reflects our commitment to reducing the carbon footprint within our own fleet. These will be among the most energy-efficient, low-emission ships in operation globally, and we value the support from Wärtsilä, whose technology and solutions help make this ambition possible,” said Xavier Leclercq, Vice-President, CMA Ships, CMA CGM.

The company plans to continue its efforts to reduce the environmental impact by adopting LNG as the primary fuel for the new ships as well as preparing them to operate on alternative fuels such as biogas and synthetic methane, as these become available at scale.