Update 03.03.23 (PM): P&O PIONEER began her delivery voyage earlier today, leaving Nansha at around 18:00 (UTC+8). Her first stop will be Singapore where she is expected to arrive on 8 March.
Dover-based P&O Ferries took delivery of the first of two brand new “fusion class” ferries for its Dover – Calais route yesterday, 28 February. P&O PIONEER, which was built by Guangzhou Shipyard International (GSI) in China, is expected to leave for the UK soon.
P&O PIONEER is designed to accommodate 1,500 passengers and has over 10,000 square metres of passenger space. One of the standout features is the large glass areas either side of the ship. These span two full decks, flooding the passenger spaces with natural light. The new ferry is expected to enter service on the Calais service ahead of the summer season.
At present, P&O PIONEER is the world’s largest double-ended ferry, and carries one of the largest battery installations ever fitted to a ship. In a first for cross-channel service, the vessel has been designed without the need to turn around in port, saving time and fuel.
40% Less Fuel
P&O Ferries intends that P&O PIONEER will operate entirely on battery power when manoeuvring in port. The batteries, which have a capacity of up to 8.8 megawatt hours, will be recharged by the ferry’s four Wärtsilä diesel engines during passage. P&O Ferries estimates that in service P&O PIONEER will use 40% less fuel than its existing cross channel ferries.
However, P&O PIONEER has been designed to be converted to plug-in all battery operation once charging facilities become available in Dover and Calais. This would eliminate the need for the four main engines, which would be replaced with more battery packs, and make the vessel zero-emission.
In another first for an English channel ferry, propulsion will be provided by four ABB-supplied electrically powered azipods. These should give the vessel unrivalled manoeuvrability and remove the need for bow or stern thrusters and rudders as each pod can be independently rotated 360 degrees. P&O PIONEER will also be the first Dover – Calais ferry to be fitted with two pairs of stabiliser fins, with a different pair being deployed depending on the direction of travel.
Later this year, P&O Ferries is expected to take delivery of P&O PIONEER’s sister-ship, P&O LIBERTE. The pair represent an investment of €260m by the Dubai-owned but Dover-based company and will replace PRIDE OF CANTERBURY and PRIDE OF KENT in service.
P&O Ferries is expected to dispose of the PRIDE OF CANTERBURY, PRIDE OF KENT and already idle PRIDE OF BURGUNDY.
P&O Pioneer At A Glance
|Route||Dover [GB] – Calas [FR]|
|Shipyard||Guangzhou Shipyard International (CSSC Group), China|
|Delivery (for introduction to service during 2023)||2023|
|Concept Design||OSK-Shiptech (Denmark) and P&O Ferries (United Kingdom)|
|Interior Architecture & Design||Steen Friis Design (Denmark) / dSign Vertti & Kivi (Finland)|
|Interior Outfitting||North Sea Offshore (China)|
|Gross Tonnage||47,394 gt|
|Main Engines||4 x Wärtsilä 16v31 Marine Diesel Engines fitted with ABB turbochargers and Wärtsilä AI technology|
|Propulsion||4 x 7.5MW ABB DO1600 Azipods|
|Fuel||Ultra low sulphur fuel oil and the recovered electrical energy stored in the onboard batteries (8.8MWh capacity). Provision has been made for future upgrading to “carbon neutral” battery only operation should shoreside facilities capable of charging sufficient batteries during the short turnaround period become available at Dover and Calais.|
|Service Speed||20.8 kts|
|Passenger Capacity||1,500 passengers|
Passengers are accommodated on decks 8 and 9
|Vehicle Capacity||Up to 2,800lm for commercial vehicles plus 200 cars or small vans. |
Total of 3,600lm including both freight decks and the reduced height car deck.