Brittany Ferries has just unveiled it is to order shortly a new LNG-powered ship for its Ouistreham - Portsmouth service. This new ship is to be delivered by 2019.
Brittany Ferries has announced earlier today it has signed with the German shipyard Flensburger Schiffbau a letter of intent to built a new 185m-long vessel which is to be powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).
This letter of intent is signed three years after the one of Pegasis, which has eventually never been ordered.
However, this letter of intent has not been signed with STX France, which was the shipyard expected to built Pegasis. Indeed, with 12 ships to be built, this shipyard would have been unable to built a ferry for 2019.
The new ship is to replace Normandie by 2019 on the Ouistreham - Portsmouth route, which is likely to be transferred to the Le Havre route where she would replace chartered-Etretat. Thus, the new-built will be introduced on Brittany Ferries' most busiest route, which carries one million passengers each year.
The vessel is to be 185m long and 31m wide. She will carry 1 680 passengers, which is actually less than the announced 2 100 passengers of Normandie. On the other hand, Normandie does not have 2 100 berths and seats, of which passengers have to book for during overnight crossing. Therefore, this lowered passenger certificate will imply less staff to be hired for this ship. On the other hand, as this ship is likely to replace the much smaller Etretat, it means it is likely that new seamen and officers jobs would be created.
Besides, the new 42,000GT vessel will provide 257 cabins ; and 5,200 m2 of passengers areas. She will also provides 2 600 lane meters of car deck, enabling her to carry either 130 freight trailers, or 550 cars and 64 freight trailers.
The new purpose-built is to be the first ferry in the English Channel to be powered by LNG (although Malo Seaways, built in 2000 and LNG-powered, has been for a while operated in the Dover straight), making her the cleanest ship in service in this area. Indeed, LNG emits less carbon dioxide, is sulphur-free and is very efficient in terms of nitrogen oxide emissions.
Christophe Mathieu, chairman of the executive board stated, "The signature of this letter of intent with Flensburger is a concrete step towards the building of the next generation of Brittany Ferries ships. Despite the Brexit, we are confident in our ability of developing and modernising our network of motorways of the seas in the service of tourism and the logistic of the Atlantic Arc regions".
However, this document is a letter of intent, not a building contract. Therefore, this does not mean the vessel is ordered, leaving a possibility to either of both parties could remove the contract, as it has happened for Pegasis. The building contract is expected to be signed by Spring 2017, with building expected to begin immediately.
Flensburger is already building Irish Ferries' new vessel which is to be delivered by May 2018.