The UK ferry industry is to introduce 11 new hybrid-powered vessels by 2027, industry association Discover Ferries has revealed.
Six new ships have already entered service in the past two years, with the additional investments set to bring the total number of hybrid-powered ferries to 17.
“This industry-wide investment is great news for the millions of travellers who value comfort, space and value for money but are also mindful of their environmental impact,” said Abby Penlington, director of Discover Ferries. “The new vessels are important milestones in our journey towards a net-zero industry which operates across 80 passenger ferry routes from the British Isles.”
A new commuter service due to launch in 2024 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, is among the hybrid-powered vessels that are scheduled to be introduced. The ship is under development by the Belfast Maritime Consortium with Condor Ferries and is designed to fly above the water and use 90 per cent less energy than a conventional ferry.
Two new ships for P&O Ferries, launching in 2023, are designed to run on battery power once charging infrastructure is installed in ports. Hybrid vessels are also in development for routes operated by Brittany Ferries, Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, Isles of Scilly Travel, Caledonian MacBrayne, Wightlink and Uber Boat by Thames Clippers, which is set to launch the UK’s first high-speed hybrid ferries in 2023.
Stena Line is also developing a new generation of its E-flexer vessels, which will be dual-fuel methanol hybrids. The new ships are set to operate on routes between Harwich, England, and the Hook of Holland, and from Belfast to Cairnryan, Scotland.
“As well as improved efficiency and a switch to cleaner fuels and hybrid propulsion, the new ships boast new onboard facilities and upgraded interiors to offer passengers a comfortable journey in a truly modern setting,” says Penlington. “Together with more sustainable engines, the improved onboard experience ensures future generations of ferry travellers, further cementing our industry’s future.”