First LNG-powered ferry to serve UK takes to the water

The next ship to join Brittany Ferries’ fleet, Salamanca, took to the water for the first time last week.

Salamanca’s launch ceremony took place on 6 January 2021 at the CMJL shipyard in Weihai, China, where she is under construction. She is the second of three E-Flexer class ships ordered by Brittany Ferries and will join sister-ship Galicia, when she enters service in the spring of 2022.

Fleet renewal is one of the pillars of Brittany Ferries’ five-year recovery plan. The investment in new ships was made well before the pandemic began, but the company says a trio of cleaner, more efficient and comfortable vessels will help secure the company’s future ensuring the continuity of passenger and freight services.

“In spite of Brexit and Covid which have cost our company several hundred million euros already, I am resolved to remain on our path towards eco-responsibility and energy transition,” says Jean-Marc Roué, president Brittany Ferries. “It is a formal commitment I’ve made: we will continue, despite these crises, to reduce our carbon footprint, to keep on improving our fleet and to contribute to the development of the regions we serve. Salamanca is a good illustration of this. By renewing our fleet today, we are ensuring a return to growth tomorrow and Brittany Ferries and our partners remain confident in the future.”

Galicia entered service in December 2020. Salamanca will join her in 2022 with Santoña following in 2023. Both Salamanca and Santoña will be powered by LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) and will serve the company’s long-distance routes connecting the UK with Spain.

The facilities for storing LNG will be supplied by Repsol in Spain. Under the terms of the agreement, the fuel company will build two quayside LNG bunkering terminals in the ports of Santander and Bilbao, including a 1,000 m3 storage tank to ensure uninterrupted supply for Salamanca and Santoña.

“Passengers expect more comfortable, cleaner, greener vessels and society rightly demands sustainability as standard. Shipping companies that fail to improve are therefore destined to fail,” says Christophe Mathieu, chief executive Brittany Ferries. “It’s why these E-Flexer ships are so important as we look to emerge from the current crisis. Galicia, Salamanca and Santoña, are clear evidence that we are determined to sail towards a sustainable and a successful future.”

Salamanca will be French-flagged and crewed by dedicated French seafarers.

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