OCTOBER 13, 2014 — Brittany Ferries has pulled the plug on plans to switch to LNG fueling that included the building of a 2,474 passenger/800 car LNG fueled ROpax ferry at STX France and the conversion of three existing ROpax ships.
The ferry company said that the conditions necessary to realize its LNG plans had not been met and that, two and a half months before the January 1, 2015 entry into force of new emissions regulations, all indications were that there would be no temporary exemption for shipowners undertaking an environmental transition plan.
Brittany Ferries Supervisory Council President Jean Marc Roue said it was impossible for the company to afford the investment needed for the LNG plan while paying tens of millions of euros in added fuel costs for gasoil during the period needed for the conversion of vessels to LNG.
Scrubbers will now be installed on the three ships originally slated for conversion to LNG and, meantime, Brittany Ferries will allow itself time to study a replacement vessel for its ferry Bretagne. The company still considers LNG to be a viable economic and ecological option for the French maritime industry.
STX France said it had taken note of the decision by Brittany Ferries to end its gas propulsion development projects and said that ordering a new ferry from STX France was a key part of these projects.
The shipbuilder said that, while understanding the reasons for Brittany Ferries' decision, it regretted that it deprives the shipyard in Saint-Nazaire of once again demonstrating its expertise in gas propulsion and its capacity for innovation in the area at a time when the market expects new and better solutions.
STX France says it continues its collaboration with Brittany Ferries on the rest of its plans for making its fleet meet the new standards on air emissions.
The shipbuilder is examining the impacts of the Brittany Ferries decision in terms of loss of turnover and especially workload. It says that a good order book position, control measures and a strong commercial activity will likely allow it to greatly limit the consequences of the decision.