Ferry News

Brittany Ferries Makes History With First LNG Powered Ferry Sailing From UK To Spain

The first commercial LNG-powered ferry sailing from the UK takes place this weekend.  

At 2130 on Sunday 27 March, Brittany FerriesSALAMANCA will depart Portsmouth for Bilbao in Spain.  On the inaugural voyage will be more than 600 passengers and their cars, along with freight vehicles.

Sailing at around 21 knots, SALAMANCA will make two round trips to Bilbao each week, taking around 28 hours. She will also make a weekly return voyage to Cherbourg in France. Powered by LNG, she will offer a smoother, quieter ride for passengers, as well as fewer emissions from her funnel.

SALAMANCA at Roscoff. Image: Brittany Ferries/ A Pennec.
SALAMANCA at Roscoff. Image: Brittany Ferries/ A Pennec.

Christophe Mathieu, Brittany Ferries CEO comments.

“LNG-powered ships like Salamanca are a clear statement of our commitment to the future and to fleet renewal.  They are cleaner vessels, significantly cutting air quality emissions like soot and sulphur. That’s good news for port partners today, but they could be even greener in the years to come. Salamanca is capable of running on future fuels like e-methane or bio-methane if these become available in volume. Either has the potential to cut carbon footprint significantly, in addition to the cleaner air that LNG-power brings from day one.”

Brittany Ferries, Press Release

The first of four

SALAMANCA is the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) powered vessel to join the Brittany Ferries fleet, but she won’t be the last.  By 2025, four LNG ferries will call Portsmouth home.  Including two, which will be hybrid electric powered.

Next year SALAMANCA’s sister-ship SANTOÑA joins the fleet. Also LNG-powered, SANTOÑA will connect Portsmouth with Santander, the capital of Cantabria and gateway to so-called green Spain. Both Bilbao and Santander Ports will host bunkering (refuelling) terminals to power the ships, supplied by fuel partner Repsol.

SALAMANCA taking on LNG bunkers from a road tanker. Image: Brittany Ferries.
SALAMANCA taking on LNG bunkers from a road tanker. Image: Brittany Ferries.

SALAMANCA inaugurated the facility at the LNG-terminal at Bilbao, this week.  The vessel arrived at the port on the afternoon of 20 March 2022 and departed this morning, 23 March.  The vessel is currently enroute to Cherbourg to take on crew and stores before sailing to Portsmouth.  SALAMANCA’s first arrival into her UK homeport will be around 0700 on Friday 25 March.

Electric-hybrid ferries

Two LNG-electric hybrid vessels are next to arrive, sailing the Western Channel to connect Portsmouth with St Malo and Caen in 2025. They will operate in a way that is analogous to a hybrid car, powered by LNG, by battery power or by a combination of the two.

A side profile image of Brittany Ferries' new Stena E-Flexer ferry for the Portsmouth to Saint-Malo service. Image: Stena RoRo.
A side profile image of Brittany Ferries’ new Stena E-Flexer ferry for the Portsmouth to Saint-Malo service. Image: Stena RoRo.

The hybrids will be shore-side-power ready. This means that they can be plugged-in, when port-side infrastructure allows. News that Portsmouth International Port has just applied to the area’s distribution network operator (DNO), to begin the process of upgrading the electricity supply, is welcomed by Brittany Ferries.

Largest in fleet

SALAMANCA is one of the largest ships in the Brittany Ferries Fleet. An E-Flexer class vessel, she is 214.5 m long, with ten decks and gross tonnage of 41,716 GRT. She can carry up to 1,015 passengers in 341 cabins, with nearly 3,000 lane metres of space for tourist vehicles and freight. She is similar in most respects, other than fuelling to the GALICIA, which entered service at the end of 2020.

For a full overview of the ship, please visit the NIFS features on the ship.  NIFS will shortly be bringing an updated gallery of the ship, as prepared for service.

Looking into SALAMANCA's main vehicle deck through her clamshell bow doors. Image: © A. Pennec, courtesy of Brittany Ferries.
Looking into SALAMANCA‘s main vehicle deck through her clamshell bow doors. Image: © A. Pennec, courtesy of Brittany Ferries.

Gary Andrews

Experienced Maritime Professional, a specialist in ship and port operations, Business Development and Customer Experience, Gary has worked for some of Europe’s leading ferry companies. You can follow Gary on Twitter at @garyandrews77
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