Salamanca: first look inside Brittany Ferries' natural gas powered vessel as council leader sets out green vision for the city's future

A COUNCIL leader is looking to a greener future for Portsmouth as the country’s first ever natural gas powered ferry prepares to set sail from the city's port.

Friday, 25th March 2022, 5:20 pm
Updated Friday, 25th March 2022, 5:24 pm

Salamanca, Brittany Ferries' newest vessel, will embark on its inaugural voyage this weekend as it carries more than 600 passengers and freight vehicles to Spain.

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, the leader of Portsmouth City Council, set out his hopes for Portsmouth to become the 'first carbon neutral port in the country' inspired by the 'wonderful' Salamanca.

He said: ‘We have already reduced our carbon footprint.

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Tour of the new Brittany Ferries ship Salamanca. Plaza Mayor Bar. Picture: Stuart Martin (220421-7042)

‘We are trying to make sure we are having the lowest possible impact. Ships like this really help.’

The councillor added that the council is able to take a ‘long term view’ in creating a greener port.

He said: ‘Brittany Ferries had a vision for what they could do.

‘The city council had the vision to run the ferry port.

Tour of the new Brittany Ferries ship Salamanca. Engine control room. Picture: Stuart Martin (220421-7042)

‘Having that joint vision has been incredibly important to both of us.’

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Salamanca is the first ferry in the UK to run off liquefied natural gas (LNG), rather than more polluting heavy fuel oil.

Christophe Mathieu, CEO of Brittany Ferries, said: ‘I am so proud to be speaking to you from Brittany Ferries’ first LNG energy vessel.

Tour of the new Brittany Ferries ship Salamanca. Charles Varin, Florent Hautot and Pierre Geille pictured on the bridge. Picture: Stuart Martin (220421-7042)

‘We say that Salamanca is cleaner today and greener tomorrow.

‘Salamanca is an important step for us and for Portsmouth.’

Today, Brittany Ferries welcomed The News to take a sneak peek inside Salamanca ahead of her journey to Bilbao at the weekend.

Inside, the ship boasts cabin accommodation with televisions, a sundeck with sports equipment, pet kennels, a children's play area, and several places to eat and drink.

Tour of the new Brittany Ferries ship Salamanca. Gerald Vernon-Jackson presents a plaque to ships captain Christophe Bergeroux. Picture: Stuart Martin (220421-7042)

Guests can choose from the Spanish Restaurant Azul, the Taverna de Tapas, and the Plaza Mayor bar.

Kimberley Poppe is the art director for the Salamanca, and drew her inspiration from the architecture and art scene of the ‘elegant’ Spanish city.

She said: ‘It’s so wonderful because I got to go through the process from the beginning - to travel to Salamanca to get a feel for the spirit of the place.

‘It was great to find and collaborate with these different artists.

‘It reflects the different aspects of Salamanca - everything has been done as authentic to the place.’

The sundeck features murals by Madrid-born artist Ruben Sanchez.

Tour of the new Brittany Ferries ship Salamanca. Artwork by steet artist Ruben Sanchez. Picture: Stuart Martin (220421-7042)

Kimberley added: ‘I love the colour and spirit that Ruben brings.

‘With Ruben's art, we have that vibrancy and life.’

Salamanca, one of the largest ships in the Brittany Ferries Fleet at 214.5 m long, will make two round trips to Bilbao each week as well as a weekly return-voyage to Cherbourg in France.

Jean-Marc Roue, Brittany Ferries president and working farmer, welcomed guests to the ship today.

He said: ‘It is a great pleasure to be with you in Portsmouth.

‘It is a key milestone - we have a 50 year history with Breton farmers.

‘The links with the city and the UK are deep and they will continue with Salamanca.

‘We need to be close, Brexit or not.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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Tour of the new Brittany Ferries ship Salamanca. The Bridge. Picture: Stuart Martin (220421-7042)
Tour of the new Brittany Ferries ship Salamanca. Jean Baptiste-Quillec working in the Engine control room. Picture: Stuart Martin (220421-7042)
Tour of the new Brittany Ferries ship Salamanca. Brittant Ferries president Jean-Marc Roue. Picture: Stuart Martin (220421-7042)
Tour of the new Brittany Ferries ship Salamanca. Engine control room. Picture: Stuart Martin (220421-7042)
Tour of the new Brittany Ferries ship Salamanca. Plaza Mayor Bar. Picture: Stuart Martin (220421-7042)
Tour of the new Brittany Ferries ship Salamanca. Art Curator Kimberley Poppe. Picture: Stuart Martin (220421-7042)
Tour of the new Brittany Ferries ship Salamanca. Picture: Stuart Martin (220421-7042)
Tour of the new Brittany Ferries ship Salamanca. Safety Officer Charles Varin picture on the bridge. Picture: Stuart Martin (220421-7042)
Tour of the new Brittany Ferries ship Salamanca. Engine Room. Picture: Stuart Martin (220421-7042)
Tour of the new Brittany Ferries ship Salamanca. Taberna De Tapas restaurant. Picture: Stuart Martin (220421-7042)
Tour of the new Brittany Ferries ship Salamanca. Christophe Mathieu CEO Brittany Ferries. Picture: Stuart Martin (220421-7042)