A new ropax, wholly owned by the Sicilian Region and entirely ‘made in Sicily’ is to provide a service to the islands of Lampedusa and Pantelleria.
Sicilian Regional President, Renato Schifani and Fincantieri CEO and Managing Director, Pierroberto Folgiero signed the contract for the construction of a new ropax Class A for a base bid of nearly €120 mill.
“The signing of this contract” said Schifani, “represents a turning point for connections with Sicily’s smaller islands. Ours is the first region in Italy to field the funds that the (Italian) Ministry of Transport has allocated to sea connections and the first to be a full owner of a ferry.
“We will improve the quality and safety standards of sea transport for Lampedusa and Pantelleria, with a modern ship that also guarantees great attention to respect for the environment.
“We are giving a concrete response to residents and those who need to reach the islands for business or tourism. I also express particular satisfaction with the fact that the new unit will be entirely built in Palermo shipyards.
“It is a confirmation of the great professional quality of the workforce of the Palermo shipyard that I have personally witnessed, an asset that it is right to enhance in such a strategic sector as shipbuilding,” he said.
Folgiero commented: “The awarding of this order represents an important test for Fincantieri. In an industrial sector that over time has moved to Asian shipyards, we have the opportunity to bring ferry production back to Italy, rehabilitate our historical competencies in the sector, and demonstrate our ability to be competitive while ensuring the highest production standards, with benefits in terms of operations and sustainability that will reach the end user.
“The strength of our project is, once again, technologies for reducing environmental impact, intercepting the needs of the energy transition, which are destined to outline the maritime transport sector of tomorrow,” he added.
The new vessel will be built at the Palermo shipyard and will be delivered in 2026 to serve routes between Sicily and the islands.
She will have a length of about 140 m, will be of about 14,500 gt and will be able to reach a maximum speed of 19 knots. She will be able to accommodate 1,000 people and 200 cars.
The ropax will be equipped with a dual fuel engine, powered by diesel and LNG. She will also be fitted with a photovoltaic system that, thanks to energy storage in a battery pack, will ensure that it will remain in port for about four hours with zero emissions.
Local Councillor Aricò, added:“We succeeded, with President Schifani, in obtaining that Fincantieri would build the ship in its entirety in the Palermo shipyard: a 100% ‘Made in Sicily’ ship, which will allow the region to provide itself with an additional means of transport for the Sicilian islands, as well as to relaunch the Sicilian shipbuilding sector.
“The ship will be equipped with stabilisers similar to those on oil platforms that will allow it to dock even in prohibitive weather conditions.
“Today’s signing completes the work initiated by my predecessor, Marco Falcone and implemented by this government. It is an extraordinary achievement: Sicily is the first region in Italy to have commissioned a ship, financed under Law 208/2015, which establishes a fund aimed at direct purchase for the improvement of public transport.
“The region will also have the possibility, as provided for in the notice, to exercise the option to build a second vessel,” he said.