An artist's impression of one of the new ferries, which will run on LNG fuel and battery power
Brittany Ferries is to add two new hybrid LNG-electric ro-pax ferries to its fleet in 2024-2025 as part of its fleet renewal plan, which is one of the pillars of its five-year, post-Covid recovery strategy.
Both new vessels will be chartered from Stena RoRo on a 10-year agreement, which includes an option for Brittany Ferries to purchase them after four years. One will replace Normandie on the route between Portsmouth, UK and Caen, France, while the other will replace Bretagne on the route between Portsmouth and St Malo, France.
The ferries will join two other LNG-fuelled vessels in the fleet, Salamanca and Santoña in 2023, which will operate routes between the UK and Spain from 2022 and 2023 respectively.
“Fleet renewal is not a choice for Brittany Ferries; it is an imperative to secure our future,” said Christophe Mathieu, CEO Brittany Ferries. “Our customers rightly demand cleaner, greener vessels and our port partners expect us to be good neighbours. Furthermore, we will certainly face tighter regulation in the years ahead. The future of our company depends upon our ability to rise to the challenge today, to prepare for tomorrow. That is why I am so proud to announce these new vessels.”
Designed to better serve freight and passenger traffic on the routes between the UK and France, the new ships will operate on LNG fuel while at sea but will switch to running partially or completely on battery power while in port and in the English Channel. When berthed in port, the vessels will be able to connect to shore power facilities to recharge the onboard batteries and to provide power for systems like air conditioning, heating and lighting. This will fully eliminate funnel emissions in ports.
Each ship has been designed to suit the route on which it will operate, taking into consideration the predicted future trends for both passenger and freight traffic.
Both vessels will boast an increased number and variety of cabins to maximise capacity on night-time crossings. For example, Normandie’s replacement will have 30 extra commodore cabins, as well as a C-Club airport-style lounge, while Bretagne’s replacement will feature 79 additional commodore cabins, a C-Club lounge, and 18 more cabins for families of up to six people. There will also be extra pet-friendly cabins on the ships.
The onboard parking garages will also be longer and higher than on the existing vessels to increase freight capacity and make it easier to accommodate new types of passenger vehicle, such as motorhomes. The facilities will have charging points for electric cars, as well as additional lane space to facilitate faster and easier embarkation and disembarkation.
“They [the new vessels] bring with them a host of innovations just as Bretagne and Normandie did when they were launched,” said Mathieu. “Both vessels have served us well and we are grateful for the support of the regions that bear their name. They are much loved by customers and crew, but now is the time for us to look to the future and to plan for a brighter future, even as we battle the crisis we face today.”
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