Brittany Ferries books another LNG-powered ship
Brittany Ferries announced on March 26 that it has chartered a new LNG-powered ship to run long-haul routes. It is the fourth LNG-powered vessel the French-owned company has contracted.
The charter agreement with Stena RoRo is part of a €550mn ($619mn) fleet renewal and investment programme by Brittany Ferries. Thanks to their shorter and more regular routes, ferry operators have found the switch to LNG easier than container ship operators, which are the real prize in a maritime industry facing a tough task to meet new emissions targets from next year.
As yet unnamed, the ship will be built at the AVIC Weihai Shipyard in China and will join Brittany Ferries’ network in 2023. The company say LNG is “a fuel which presents major environmental advantages over conventional maritime fuels, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by around 20% and cutting sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and particulate emissions to almost zero.”
From 2020, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will enforce a new 0.5% global sulphur cap on fuel content. The limit currently sits at 3.5%. The gas industry is pushing LNG bunkering as the replacement fuel of choice, but the development phase of infrastructure and the market make it a tricky call for the container ships that constitute the bulk of the global fleet. Many shipping companies have been fitting scrubbers in a bid to delay their decisions on fleet renewal.
Brittany Ferries is due to welcome two other LNG-powered long-haul cruisers. The Galicia is set to arrive in 2021; the Salamanca is scheduled a year later. The ferry operator expects its first LNG-powered ship, the Honfleur ferry, to welcome its first passengers in the summer. It will be the will be the first cross-Channel ferry to operate solely on LNG. An agreement with Repsol will see the supply of LNG and key shoreside infrastructure to the Salamanca via either the Santander or Bilbao port.
The decision to contract a fourth LNG-powered vessel “clearly demonstrates [Brittany Ferries’] commitment to LNG as a fuel and, our ambition to operate one of the most modern, green and comfortable ferry fleets in the world,” said CEO Christophe Mathieu.