Brittany Ferries launches First LNG-Powered Passenger Ferry in Ireland

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Heralding a new era for greener ferry travel, Brittany Ferries’ Salamanca, the first LNG (liquefied natural gas) powered passenger ferry to operate from Ireland, departed from Rosslare Europort on its maiden voyage to Bilbao, Spain.

Following significant passenger growth on its Ireland-France (46%) and Ireland-Spain (9%) routes in 2022 compared with 2019, Brittany Ferries is now offering greater capacity and an enhanced experience for passengers with the introduction of the luxury cruise ferry, Salamanca.

The new energy-efficient, state-of-the-art ship replaces the predominantly freight-carrying vessel, Connemara. As well as significantly increased capacity on the Rosslare-Bilbao route, Salamanca promises lower emissions and a smoother, quieter voyage for travellers.

General Manager of Brittany Ferries in Ireland, Hugh Bruton said, “Salamanca is the first of four Brittany Ferries vessels to be powered by cleaner liquefied natural gas (LNG). She will operate throughout the winter and into next summer on the Cherbourg and Bilbao to Rosslare routes. The aim is to grow by 50,000 the number of holidaymakers sailing between Ireland and Spain – as we have recognised that the demand is there. This modern cruise ferry is not only more sustainable but is better equipped and more spacious and luxurious than its predecessor. That means more space for passengers to relax on board, greater comfort and more to do and to share during the voyage.”

Christophe Mathieu, CEO of Brittany Ferries added, “Brittany Ferries is proud to be taking a lead by investing in the technologies of tomorrow. We have a responsibility to bring cleaner vessels to market, which is what we have done. LNG-powered ships such as the Salamanca are ‘cleaner today and greener tomorrow’, which helps to future-proof our decarbonisation journey – ensuring we can continue to play our part in a more sustainable future.

But bringing this new cruise ferry to the route is not just about sustainability. It’s about a commitment to Ireland and Spain and our desire to build a tourist route between two beautiful destinations. We have spent four years building freight connections; now is the time to focus on holiday-makers.”

Glenn Carr, Director, Commercial Business Units, Iarnród Éireann – Port Authority for Rosslare Europort – added, “There is no doubt that we are at a critical juncture when it comes to global energy security and supply. It is great to see companies such as Brittany Ferries investing in more sustainable vessels that run on cleaner fuels, mirroring our own decarbonisation journey in Iarnród Éireann and Rosslare Europort. LNG-powered, fuel-agnostic, hybrid and possibly even electric ships are a crucial part of the journey toward future-proofing the maritime industry. We look forward to welcoming all passengers, travelling on board the Salamanca through Rosslare Europort.”

As part of its overall fleet renewal plan, Brittany Ferries has invested in four LNG-powered vessels. The move includes two LNG-electric hybrid ships, arriving in 2024 and 2025 servicing UK and mainland European routes.

In addition to more efficient fuel, all of the Brittany Ferries’ LNG ships will be E-Flexer class vessels, featuring slender hulls and a design that offers a high level of hydrodynamic performance below the surface of the water. That means a smoother ride and less vibration even in difficult weather conditions.

LNG is currently the best fuel option available to shipping companies, delivering lower emissions and a 90% reduction on nitrogen oxide (Nox). Further future-proofing its sustainable journey, the Brittany Ferries Salamanca is described as ‘fuel agnostic’, which means that when even more renewable options like e-methane or bio-methane come on stream, it will be ready to run on them.

Salamanca will therefore automatically become greener in the coming years, following fuel technology, distribution and supply advances. Brittany Ferries is currently working with long-term fuel partner Repsol and the ports of Bilbao and Santander for refuelling its LNG ships.

Salamanca will sail from Rosslare to Bilbao twice weekly departing Wednesday and Friday mornings.