Polish state controlled ferry operator Polferries will charter a brand new Ro-Pax from 2024, it has been confirmed. The new Visentini-built ferry will serve the Świnoujście – Ystad route and is expected in service towards the end of 2024.
A contract for a ten year charter with an option to purchase after six years has been signed with an Italian shipowner. Funding for the charter will be supported by the PLN 140 million (EUR 30 million) of financial support allocated to Polferries by the Polish government at the start of this year.
At least initially, Polferries’ Visentini will fill the gap while Polferries awaits delivery of a new Polish-built ferry ordered alongside two units for fellow state-controlled operator Unity Line.
Contractually Polferries is required to bring in a new LNG-fuelled ship after the Port of Ystad built new, larger, ferry berths. The new ferry, like previous Visentini LNG-fuelled ships, will have LNG tanks installed on an open deck towards the stern of the vessel and will also be capable of running on Diesel.
Polferries’ new ship will be a longer part-sister to Corsica Linea’s A GALEOTTA which is the first of Visentini’s new generation of ferries built on a new platform. As with the previous Visentini Ro-Pax ferries, this new generation is designed by Treiste-headquartered NAOS Ship & Boat Design.
No Honfleur for Polferries
The Visentini charter would seem to put to bed rumours that Polferries could charter the cancelled Brittany Ferries ship HONFLEUR once she is completed. That ship, which was ordered in 2019, is now over 3 years late in being delivered with the work having been transferred away from the original bankrupt builder FSG by new owner SIEM. HONFLEUR is believed to still be available for charter or purchase and has been moored at Węgierskie Quay in Gdynia since May. Węgierskie Quay is used by Vistal which has previously undertaken modifications to ships owned by the SIEM group.
Polferries has been undertaking a fleet renewal programme in recent years, with MAZOVIA, CRACOVIA, and NOVA STAR having joined the fleet since 2015. It is currently unclear which of the current vessels on the Świnoujście – Ystad route will be replaced by the Visentini new-build. Presently CRACOVIA (ex DRUJBA / MURILLO), MAZOVIA (ex EUROFERRY BRINDISI / FINNARROW / GOTLAND), and BALTIVIA (ex DIEPPE / GIROLATA / SAGA STAR) serve the Ystad service.
BALTIVIA dates from 1981 making her the second oldest vessel in the fleet after WAWEL (ex ALKMINI A, P&OSL CANTERBURY, STENA FANTASIA, etc). This perhaps makes BALTIVIA the most likely candidate for replacement given the forthcoming EEXI/CII emissions regulations, though with space for over 3,000 lane metres of freight and 1,000 passengers, the new ship will have a passenger and freight capacity similar to CRACOVIA and BALTIVIA combined.
Should Polferries opt to displace both CRACOVIA and BALTIVIA with the new Visentini ferry, this could allow WAWEL to be replaced by CRACOVIA. However, it should be stressed that Polferries has yet to indicate the impact on the current fleet.
|Polferries’ Visentini New-Build|
|Length Overall||216 m|
|Vehicle capacity||3,000+ lane metres plus a separate car garage|
|Propulsion||2 x Dual-Fuel Diesel-LNG main engines driving two controllable pitch propellers|