Brittany Ferries unveils gas-powered ship for Portsmouth route

Artist's impression from Brittany Ferries
Artist's impression from Brittany Ferries

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This is the new gas-powered ship Brittany Ferries plans for its Portsmouth-France route

The company today announced it had signed a letter of intent with the Flensburger Schiffbau shipyard in Germany to construct the new vessel, which will be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Brittany says it will be one of the cleanest, most environmentally-friendly ships to operate in UK waters because LNG emits less carbon dioxide during combustion than marine fuel oil and burns with no smoke. In addition it is free of sulphur and is very low in nitrogen oxide emissions.

Christophe Mathieu, the CEO of Brittany Ferries, said: ‘The signing of this letter of intent with the Flensburger shipyard is a concrete step towards the construction of a new generation of Brittany Ferries ships.

‘Despite Brexit, we remain confident in our ability to continue to grow and modernise our route network, serving both tourism and trade in the regions of western Europe.”

‘More than four in five people travelling on the French company’s ships are British and more than 2.4 million passengers were carried in 2016.’

A final contract for the 1,680 passenger and 257 cabin vessel is expected to be signed in spring 2017, following which construction will start.

The new ship will launch in 2019 on the Portsmouth­-Caen route, which carries around 70 per cent of the company’s passengers and offers three daily return sailings. It will operate in tandem with the ferry Mont St Michel, which was launched in 2002.

A Brittany spokesman said: ‘Today’s announcement re-states Brittany Ferries’ commitment to reduce the environmental impact of its operations by embracing new technologies. It follows the completion of a £65 million investment in emission-reducing “scrubber” systems which have been retrospectively fitted to six cruise ferries in the company’s ten-ship fleet.’

Technical details for the new ship:

Length: 185 metres

Breadth: 31 metres

Draught: 6.5 metres

Tonnage: 42,000 gross tonnes

Passenger capacity: 1,680

Passenger cabins: 257

Passenger areas: 5,200m2

Vehicle capacity: 2,600 lane metres (130 freight trailers, or 550 cars and 64 freight trailers)