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Baleària Introduces LNG-fuelled Ferries At Madrid Fair
Jan 20, 2018

Spanish shipping company Baleària Group has used the International Tourism Fair of Madrid to introduce the first two ferries powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) that will operate in the Mediterranean. Both vessels are being built in the Italian shipyard of Cantiere Navale Visentini. The first of the two vessels is expected to enter operations at the beginning of 219, destined for the Balearic Islands.

The president of Baleària, Adolfo Utor, pointed out that the company’s commitment to the environment “is a strategic determination, based on the use of liquefied natural gas, as well as other clean energies, and the eco-efficiency of the fleet”. Utor has detailed that by using LNG, the vessels will reduce carbon emissions by 30% (CO 2), nitrogen oxide (NOx) by 85% and totally eliminate emissions of sulfur and particles. “The use of this respectful fuel has an immediate impact on air quality and the greenhouse effect,” he remarked. These are two sustainable vessels where technology and digitalization will be at the service of energy efficiency, since in addition to dual-fuel engines and LNG (with a power of 20,600 KW) these vessels will have photovoltaic panels, LED lighting or control of the trimming, among others.

The presentation was attended by the general director of the Merchant Navy, Rafael Rodríguez Valero, who gave “congratulations to Baleària for being a pioneer in the use of natural gas”, and the Minister of Territory, Energy and Mobility of the Balearic Government, Marc Pons, who remarked that the shipping company “makes an exemplary use of clean energy to be more competitive and provide the best service.”

The president of Baleària has revealed that the new ships will be baptized Hypatia de Alejandria and Marie Curie, “two scientific women of the history of humanity, in line with one of the goals established by the Sustainable Development Goals: equality and empowerment of women.”

Baleària is investing € 200 million (USD 245 m) in the construction of these two pioneering ships for the Mediterranean, with identical characteristics: 186.5 meters in length, maximum speed of 24 knots and capacity for 810 people, 2,180 linear meters of cargo and 150 vehicles. “We are working on two smart ships where the digitalization of on-board services will be an added value, which will make the trip a unique experience,” said Utor. Thus, these smart ships will include video surveillance of pets, access to services on board via mobile and digital leisure on demand, among other services.

Currently the Hypatia of Alexandria, which is scheduled to be delivered to the shipping company in February 2019, has virtually completed the hull and main engines installed, while the tanks will be incorporated in the coming weeks. Regarding the Marie Curie, 30% of the hull has already been built and the installation works are starting.

Supply contract with Gas Natural Fenosa

Before the presentation of the ships, the president of Baleària and the director of Wholesale Iberian Marketing for Gas Natural Fenosa, Joaquín Mendiluce, signed the first contract for the supply of bunkering of liquefied natural gas (LNG) for the propulsion of ships in Spain, that Utor has qualified as a “strategic alliance”. The supply agreement will be exclusively for 10 years and will initially be carried out in the ports of Barcelona, Valencia and Algeciras, extending to all the peninsular ports in which the shipping company operates, as well as the entire new fleet powered by this fuel.

Abel Matutes

Abel Matutes

Utor explained his shipping company has linked Baleària’s commitment to have an eco-efficient fleet with the Sustainable Development Goals of UNESCO, signed by the shipping company, which are based on sustainable economic growth and the defence of the planet. “We bet on clean energy because we are convinced that we can fight against climate change and at the same time be competitive,” he said. He recalled that Baleària is already a pioneer in the use of liquefied natural gas: for a few months, the ferry Abel Matutes operates out of the ports of Palma and Barcelona with the first auxiliary LNG engine in Spain. In addition, he explained that it is planned to install new engines in some ships of the fleet so that they can be propelled by this fuel that is more respectful of the environment.

These new units are added to the cruise ferry being built by LaNaval shipyards that Baleària ordered at the beginning of 2016. This vessel will also be powered by gas and equipped with the latest technologies to be more eco-efficient.