Italy’s Liberty Lines orders three more high speed hybrid ferries

Written by Nick Blenkey
Liberty Lines high speed hybrid ferry

The hybrid ferriess will be capable of zero emission operation in and out of port

Italian ferry operator Liberty Lines has added three more to the nine 38-meter hybrid monohull vessels it has on order at Spanish shipbuilder Armon. Designed by Incat Crowther, the ferries will feature a flexible hybrid drivetrain that will enable them to enter and depart ports at speeds up to 8 knots in zero-emission mode. With construction already underway at Armon, deliveries are expected to take place between 2023 and 2026.

Liberty Lines, which is well-known for its hydrofoil services to Sicily, is Italy’s largest operator of high speed passenger services and, once out of port, these monohulls will be no slouches, being able to reach 30 knots.

The vessels have a capacity of 251 passengers. The main deck of each vessel features seating for 166 passengers, five bathrooms and a kiosk/bar amidships. The upper deck seats a further 85 passengers with an additional two toilets. Large luggage racks are situated throughout the vessel’s two passenger cabins, in addition to overhead luggage bins.

Commenting on the new vessels, Liberty Lines CEO Gennaro Carlo Cotella, said the acquisitions were part of the company’s net zero strategy.

“With this project, we are making a sustainable investment in the renewal of our fleet, with the purpose to continue to offer high-quality services to our stakeholders and minimize environmental impact in order to achieve an emission-free future,” he said.


The vessels will be equipped with Rolls-Royce integrated MTU hybrid propulsion systems, each comprising two MTU 16-cylinder Series 4000M65L engines, two gearboxes, two e-motors and electric systems, two variable-speed gensets, a battery system, switchboard and electrical power management system, and an MTU hybrid automation system, which monitors and controls not only the hybrid propulsion system, but also various ship area systems. The vessels will use different operating modes as needed: Purely electric, they can enter and leave ports quietly and with zero emissions at a speed of eight knots; in hybrid mode they can reach high speed in cruise mode when traveling across the sea while simultaneously charging the batteries by the two main engines and eliminating the need to operate the gensets for hotel load. During longer stops the batteries are charged by means of the shore power supply.

Liberty Lines will have the ability to continually remotely monitor the status of the complete propulsion system via the MTU remote monitoring system.

Incat Crowther’s CEO Brett Crowther said the additional order was a sign of the growing demand for low-emission ferries.

“This project requires our team of marine designers to integrate new and cutting-edge technology into bespoke designs for our client, while ensuring we meet all regulatory requirements,” said Crowther. “Our work with Liberty Lines is yet another example of the ability of Incat Crowther to design and deliver tailored and innovative low-emission high-speed ferries for operators all around the world.”

hybrid ferry seen from the top
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