Spanish utility Gas Natural said January 30 it bunkered a Balearia ferry with LNG this weekend.

It was the first time the ferry, Abel Matutes, had been fuelled with LNG, and also the first time such an LNG bunkering operation had occurred in the port of Barcelona. The ship was bunkered with LNG from a road tanker; the operation was completed January 29.

The ferry itself had been retrofitted by adding an LNG storage tank and an auxiliary Rolls-Royce engine that runs on gas.

Thus, once fully operational on its Barcelona-Palma de Mallorca route, it will significantly reduce CO2emissions, by eliminating heavy fuel oil use (HFO) whilst in and near ports. HFO may still be used on the open sea, at least until a new global cap on sulphur in fuels is introduced at the start of 2020.

Balearia is Spain’s leading shipping company with a fleet of 25 vessels operating between the Iberian peninsula, the Balearic Islands, Tangier and Ceuta and between the US and Bahamas.

More LNG ships on the way

Balearia last year ordered its first purpose-built LNG-fuelled roll-on roll-off passenger ferry, which is due for delivery in the Mediterranean in 2019. The order was placed with Spanish shipbuilder Construcciones Navales del Norte shipyard in Sestao; it will incorporate engines made by Finland’s Wartsila. The yard has an option for a second such LNG-fuelled Balearia ferry.



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