World’s first natural gas high-speed ferry under construction in Spain
The shipping line Baleària, a pioneer in the application of LNG in sea transportation, has marked another milestone with the construction of the world’s first passenger and cargo fast ferry powered by dual fuel LNG engines. The fast ferry is being built at the Armon shipyard in Gijón, as announced by Baleària President Adolfo Utor at the inaugural conference of the 57th Naval Engineering and Maritime Industry Congress held in Valencia. With a length of 125 meters and a beam of 28 meters, the new catamaran will have capacity for 1,200 passengers and 500 cars (or otherwise trucks measuring 500 meters in length and 250 cars), making it furthermore “the longest and highest-capacity fast ferry catamaran currently in existence,” explained Utor. The vessel will be propelled by four Wärtsilä LNG/diesel engines delivering 8800 kW each, allowing it to attain a service speed of 35 knots, and a top speed of over 40 knots. It will also be equipped with two tanks to store the LNG, giving it a range of 400 nautical miles. Meanwhile, the bow of this innovative aluminum ship has been specially designed to combine performance improvements derived from vertical bows on the side hulls, with the incorporation of wave piercing. It should be emphasized that the ship’s design complies with the most demanding environmental and energy efficiency standards. Baleària will be investing 90 million euros in the construction of this fast ferry, with aluminum cutting scheduled to begin in December, and entry into service in summer 2020. The new ship forms part of the smart concept being developed by Baleària, comprising the application of new technologies, big data and artificial intelligence through the digitization of ships and maritime terminals, in the interests of energy efficiency and passenger care services. The passenger areas, with accommodation for 1,200 passengers, are innovative in terms of both their design and leisure and entertainment services. As for passenger comfort, vertical acceleration has been considerably reduced, resulting in more comfortable crossings, while vibrations and noise have also been significantly improved. “The use of LNG allows us to fulfill our commitment to the environment and energy efficiency, while also remaining one step ahead of the new pollutant gas reduction regulations scheduled for 2020,” said Utor. Baleària is also finalizing the construction of what will be the first two smart ships with LNG engines to sail the Mediterranean. The Hypatia de Alejandría is scheduled to begin operations early next year, followed by the Marie Curie a few months later. Meanwhile, the first of a total of six ships in the fleet will have its engine replaced this autumn to allow it to sail under LNG propulsion. The European Union recently gave a rating of ‘excellent’ to the project, which will be undertaken over the course of the next two years, awarding Baleària a grant of some 12 million euros out of the total investment 72 million euros. Within the next three years Baleària plans to have at least half of its ferry fleet using this clean energy to sail, rising to a hundred percent of the fleet within ten years. The Iberian Peninsula currently offers one of the fastest growing markets in terms of the adoption of natural gas in maritime transport. In this extremely encouraging scenario, AltFuels Iberia 2019 will take place on 11-14 June at IFEMA Trade Center, Madrid. It will be an event consisting of first level conferences and exhibition of vehicles of all kinds, refueling stations, components, plants, road and marine engines, as well as the entire universe of the alternative fuels industry with the latest technological developments, multiple options for networking, business and new advances. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.