SEPTEMBER 3, 2015 — Spain's Baleària Group has reached an agreement with shipbuilder Construcciones Navales del Norte – La Naval for the construction of two natural gas fueled ferries. The agreement is expected to be firmed up within about two months and will involve an investment of around EUR 350 million.
The new ferries will be the first in Spain to operate LNG. They will be among the largest in Europe and the biggest ever built in a Spanish shipyard.
Baleària will order the ships with dual fuel engines that will be capable of operation on natural gas or diesel oil and will allow the company to reduce CO2 emissions by more than 30%. The construction of the first ship will start in 2016 with delivery from the La Naval shipyard slated for the first quarter of 2018.
Chairman of Baleària, Mr. Adolfo Utor called the investment in the construction of the new ships as "the way to grow and be more competitive" addin that the ferries will be "very technologically advanced and innovative units, based not only in the propulsion system but also incorporating systems onboard allowing them to be more eco-efficient, with a better service and comfort for our clients."
La Naval's Managing Director, Mr. Iñaki Irasuegui, called the agreement a key milestone for La Naval. "Gaining a new strategic client like Baleària with which we want to establish a long term relationship, consolidates our company's strategy in the ferry market and, in general, in the design and construction of technologically advanced and sophisticated ships," he said.
Although the new ships will be Baleària's first with natural gas fueled propulsion, they will not be its first to use LNG. As we reported earlier, in February Rolls-Royce signed a collaboration agreement with Spanish energy company Gas Natural Fenosa to develop and install a pure-gas Bergen engine aboard the Baleària-operated ferry Abel Matutes.
The 29,670 tonne RoPax ferry, delivered in 2010 from the Hijos de J Barreras shipyard in Vigo, Spain, will use an LNG-fueled Rolls-Royce Bergen C26:33 L6 AG auxiliary engine to generate 1,560 kWe of clean power, dramatically reducing emissions during port stays in Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca.