Spanish shipping company Baleària said it will add to its fleetwhat it claims to be the world’s largest and the first liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered, high-speed catamaran.
The new ferry with a length of 125 meters and a beam of 28 meters will be built at the Armon shipyard in Spain, according to a Baleària statement on Thursday.
Baleària will be investing 90 million euros ($102.7m) in the construction of this fast ferry, with aluminium cutting scheduled to begin in December, and entry into service in summer 2020.
The new catamaran will have capacity for 1,200 passengers and 500 cars (or otherwise trucks measuring 500 metres in length and 250 cars), making it “the longest and highest-capacity fast ferry catamaran currently in existence,” said Baleària President Adolfo Utor.
The vessel will be propelled by four Wärtsilä dual LNG/diesel engines delivering 8800 kW each, allowing it to attain a service speed of 35 knots, and a top speed of over 40 knots.
It will also be equipped with two tanks to store the chilled fuel, giving it a range of 400 nautical miles.
The bow of this aluminium ship has been specially designed to combine performance improvements derived from vertical bows on the side hulls, with the incorporation of wave piercing, the statement said.
“The use of liquefied natural gas allows us to fulfil our commitment to the environment and energy efficiency, while also remaining one step ahead of the new pollutant gas reduction regulations scheduled for 2020,” Baleària’s Utor said.
Baleària is investing heavily in LNG as fuel. The shipping company is also finalising the construction of what would be the first two smart ships with LNG engines to sail the Mediterranean.
The Hypatia de Alejandría is scheduled to begin operations early next year, followed by the Marie Curie a few months later.
Meanwhile, the first of a total of six ships in Baleària’s fleet will have its engine replaced this autumn to allow it to sail under LNG propulsion.
The European Union recently gave a rating of ‘excellent’ to the project, which will be undertaken over the course of the next two years, awarding Baleària a grant of some 12 million euros out of the total investment of 72 million euros.