Three more E-Flexers have been ordered by Stena RoRo at the CMI Jinling (Weihai) shipyard on the back of long term charters, which when delivered, will bring the number in this series to 12.
Two new hybrid LNG-electric ships will be delivered to Brittany Ferries, while the third will be operated by Marine Atlantic.
They are due to enter service in 2024/2025 to serve Portsmouth and St Malo/Caen.
As well as significantly cutting emissions, the hybrids will deliver less noise, less vibration for passengers and a step towards future-proofing the company, Stena RoRo said.
The ships will operate on the same principle as a hybrid car. At sea, they will be powered by cleaner LNG fuel. But in a first on the English Channel, they will also operate partially or completely on battery power– for example when arriving and departing ports.
Furthermore, they will be ready to plug in to shore-side power when this is available. This will allow recharging of on board batteries and power for systems, such as air conditioning, heating and lighting while at berth, cutting funnel emissions to zero.
Brittany Ferries will charter the ships from Stena RoRo for 10 years, with a purchase option after four years in service. They will replace ‘Normandie’ and ‘Bretagne’. Designed to better serve freight and passenger traffic, they will offer more scope to carry tourists to Normandy and Brittany outside of peak holiday periods, the company claimed.
This move is part of Brittany Ferries’ fleet renewal plan, one of the pillars of its five-year post-Covid recovery strategy. The vessels will follow the deployment of ‘Salamanca’ in 2022 and ‘Santoña’ in 2023, both of which will be fuelled by LNG to serve UK/Spain routes.
“Fleet renewal is not a choice for Brittany Ferries; it is an imperative to secure our future,” said Christophe Mathieu, Brittany Ferries CEO. “Our customers rightly demand cleaner, greener vessels and our port partners expect us to be good neighbours. Furthermore, we will certainly face tighter regulation in the years ahead. The future of our company depends upon our ability to rise to the challenge today, to prepare for tomorrow. That is why I am so proud to announce these new vessels.”
Each ship was designed to suit the route on which it will operate, taking account of future trends in both passenger and freight traffic. To begin with, the garage will be longer and higher, which means greater freight capacity. However, they will also be better adapted to new types of passenger vehicles, including the trend towards bigger cars.
Additional lane space will allow easier access upon boarding and disembarkation, particularly for passengers with mobility problems. The physical size of the garage means they will also be better suited for motorhomes. Meanwhile, in-voyage charging will be available for electric car drivers, allowing them to fuel-up en route, ready for their arrival in France.
Both new ships will also be fitted with more cabins, as well as an improved mix of cabin types. For example, there will be a big increase in top-end commodore cabins. ‘Normandie’s’ replacement will benefit from 30 more commodores, as well as a C-Club airport-style lounge. ‘Bretagne’s’ replacement will host 79 more commodores with a C-Club lounge’ as well as 18 more cabins for families of up to six people.
As for the hybrid power system, each ropax will have two propellers. Each propeller is connected via a prop shaft to a separate gearbox. The gearbox manages power supplied from one LNG engine and to one reversible electric motor. The electric motor is used to either drive the propeller or charge batteries and/or power on board systems while in port.
The third E-Flexer will be built for Canadian ferry operator Marine Atlantic.
When delivered, she will operate in eastern Canada between Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. Delivery from the shipyard is expected during 2024.
“Marine Atlantic is a former customer of ours,” said Per Westling, Stena RoRo Managing Director. “We delivered one ferry in 2000 and two more in 2010 to Marine Atlantic, all of which are still in service. We were successful in executing this new charter contract after a very competitive and extensive procurement process. We are extremely pleased to be able to continue to deliver high quality ships to this important customer.”
“Our focus is on adapting ship design to our customers’ specific wishes and in this case, our E-Flexer platform is very well suited, as it meets the customer’s requirements for an optimal hull form combined with efficient dual-fuel engines and a battery-hybrid solution to minimise emissions,” he said.
“Marine Atlantic is an essential service that is vital to the national supply chain. The new vessel to be delivered to Marine Atlantic will play an important role in helping us to continue to meet the needs of our customers. The design of the vessel combines key priorities such as manoeuvrability, safety, accessibility, while minimising environmental impacts, to provide our customers with a modern, efficient and reliable service,” added Gary O’Brien, Board of Directors Chair, Marine Atlantic
“We are excited to begin the countdown towards accepting the delivery of a new charter vessel for our service. We look forward to working with our partner in this project, Stena RoRo AB. Stena RoRo is a leading innovator in the roll on/roll off cargo and passenger ferry market globally,” commented Murray Hupman, President and CEO, Marine Atlantic.
Stena E-Flexer orders at CMI Jinling (Weihai), China:
- Stena Line (in service between Holyhead and Dublin in early 2020).
- Stena Line (in service between Belfast and Liverpool in 2020).
- Brittany Ferries (long-term charter agreement for service between the UK and Spain).
- Stena Line (in service between Belfast and Liverpool in 2021).
- DFDS (long-term charter agreement for service between Dover and Calais, delivery 2021).
- Brittany Ferries with LNG operation (long-term charter agreement, delivery November 2021).
- Stena Line (extended version, delivery 2022).
- Stena Line (extended version, delivery 2022).
- Brittany Ferries with LNG operation (long-term charter agreement, delivery 2023).
- Marine Atlantic with LNG operation (long-term charter agreement, delivery 2024).
- Brittany Ferries with LNG operation (long-term charter agreement, delivery 2024).
Brittany Ferries with LNG operation (long-term charter agreement, delivery 2025).