Mar 6, 2023 | Shipbuilding & ship repair news

Brittany Ferries’ latest newbuild, ‘Santoña’, has begun servive on the company’s twice-weekly Portsmouth (UK) to Santander in northern Spain service, to which is added a single weekly return-crossing to Cherbourg in France. 

Santoña is fuelled by LNG, expected to offer passengers, freight drivers and crew a smoother and quieter ride, while meaning better air quality and lower CO2 emissions. The ship is the third in a series of five new E-Flexer vessels to join the fleet, covering the period 2019 – 2025, part of the company’s ship renewal programme to invest in a more sustainable future. It follows the entry into service of LNG-powered sister-ship Salamanca in 2022. With LNG, virtually no soot, sulphur or nitrogen dioxide are emitted following combustion. CO2 emissions are up to 20% lower than for diesel fuel. There is potential to realise further improvements in the years to come when new bio and e-Fuels are available to power what are sometimes described as ‘fuel agnostic’ ships.

Christopher Mathieu, Brittany Ferries CEO said: “We are proud to be long-term partners of Portsmouth international Port and the great waterfront city. But we want to be more than just a company that contributes significantly to the local economy, taking people to beautiful destinations in France and Spain. We also want to be partners for change, boosting moves to improve air quality across the city and to tackle climate change. That’s why ships like Santoña and the hybrids to come are so important.”

The next two Brittany Ferries vessels on the horizon will feature hybrid technology. They will run on LNG, on electric power or a combination of the two. At sea the ships will be powered by LNG, but on approach to land, and while manoeuvring in port and at quay, hybrid technology takes charge. Arriving in 2024/2025, the ferries will replace  Bretagne and Normandie, serving Portsmouth-Caen and Portsmouth-St Malo and both will be shore power ready. They are configured to be plugged-in to recharge batteries and to run systems on board while alongside, cutting emissions to zero. Portsmouth International Port and the City Council has been key to lobbying for – and securing – the large increase in power supply needed, as well as investment in infrastructure to get power to the port gate. Work is continuing to secure the final piece of the jigsaw, connecting power from the port gate to the quayside where ferries and cruise vessels will dock.

Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Leader of Portsmouth City Council said: “We are proud of our long-term partnership with Brittany Ferries, and hugely impressed to see their plans for sustainable expansion going from strength to strength. Brittany Ferries shares the city’s ambitions for a future focussed on protecting the environment, we are committed to supporting them to achieve their clean growth goals, which is why we are securing additional green energy to provide power for ships in the future that can plug in when in port. As expected from Brittany Ferries Santona is an impressive ship and we look forward to seeing her sail regularly through Portsmouth.”

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