At last week’s Posidonia 2022 trade fair, class society DNV signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Saronic Ferries.
This was designed to enable the development of an electric ferry for local deployment on short sea passenger routes in the Argosaronikos area of Greece.
The use of all-electric or hybrid vessels in the short-sea ferry segment has surged in recent years as the benefits of the technology has been demonstrated in pilots and full-scale deployments.
In particular for ferries on fixed routes, electric technology offers significant benefits – eliminating on board emissions to air, reducing noise and vibration, and providing compliance with increasingly strict regulations in operations and in ports.
“We operate the largest fleet in the Saronic islands, which are located only a few miles away from the port of Piraeus, the largest port of Greece, where de-carbonisation will matter most,” said Joseph Lefakis, Saronic Ferries Partner. “Our goal is to partner with forward-thinking stakeholders, such as DNV and materialise the first fully-electric ferry in Greece, for the Saronic islands.”
“Our mission is to operate a purely emissions-free fleet by 2040 to all our destinations,” added George Papaioannides (pictured middle), another Partner. “We are taking a step towards a cleaner world and we envision our operation in the Saronic Islands to be the inspiration for others to initiate more green fleet renewal projects in Greece.”
“We have real potential for de-carbonisation in local ferries in Greece,” said Ioannis Chiotopoulos (pictured left), DNV Maritime’s Senior Vice President, Regional Manager South East Europe, Middle East & Africa. “Ferries are at the heart of tourism through our islands, and as regulations tighten and the public demands more sustainable ways to enjoy travel, full-electric ferries offer forward looking owners the opportunity to contribute to the green wave that is sweeping across shipping.
“We are extremely pleased to be working with Saronic Ferries on these first steps, demonstrating how local companies can take the initiative on de-carbonisation and use new technologies for a cleaner future,” he said.
DNV claimed to be a ‘first mover’ on batteries, establishing the first industry rules for battery propulsion, and working with many customers to enable efficient and successful transitions to electric propulsion. The class society has continued to develop a network of experts in Norway and around the world with extensive experience in batteries and battery control systems, which can be drawn on for the local market through the Piraeus office.
In addition, as the initiator and lead of the Norwegian Green Shipping Programme, for many years, DNV has been working on bringing together maritime stakeholders to escalate the deployment of green vessels, most notably the country’s fleet of short sea ferries.
Greece also has a great potential to power electric ferries with renewable energy. The available resource in terms of offshore wind and solar power, both fixed and floating, is significant. Combining these offers the possibility of developing a new ‘Greek green corridor’, resulting not only in fleet de-carbonisation but creating local expertise and new business opportunities.
Saronic Ferries operates a five-strong fleet providing an all-year-round connection between the Saronic islands and Piraeus (Athens). Saronic Ferries connects Piraeus, Aegina, Agistri, Methana and Poros for local commuters and professionals, as well as tourists and numerous visitors.
Elsewhere, Norway’s Brødrene Aa shipyard has delivered the first of three high speed ferries to Greek ferry operator Attica Group’s Saronic Gulf services.
‘Aero 1 Highspeed’ is the first of Brødrene’s newly developed AERO concept, featuring aerodynamic and energy efficient design, accompanied with lightweight carbon fibre trademark construction.
The extremely light carbon fibre construction contributes to a reduction of fuel consumption and air emissions.
“We are very pleased and proud that our vessels will soon be sailing in the demanding Greek Seas trusted by one of the largest European ferry operators,” Brodrene CEO, Tor Øyvin Aa, said.
Upon her delivery Attica CEO, Spiros Paschalis said: “In these challenging times, Attica Group remains focused on providing first class sea transport services to our passengers, with new, innovative and more environmental friendly vessels, to the benefit of our islands and their people and to the Greek tourism and economy.”
‘Aero 1 Highspeed’ is of 36 m in length and 9.7 m wide. She is the first of three Aero catamarans ordered by Attica. With a full load, it will be able to maintain a maximum speed of 32 kn.
The interior was designed for comfort, even in rough seas. The spacious passenger accommodation area has large windows, providing excellent views and ample natural light. She also has special provisions for passengers with reduced mobility and a dedicated area for bicycles.