French operator Brittany Ferries has ordered a 52,500gt liquid natural gas powered ferry to take over its main UK-Northern Spain and France-Ireland services. What is known as the ‘Pegasis project’, with construction placed in the hands of the STX France yard in Saint-Nazaire, will result in a 25-knot service speed vessel with a length of 210m and a beam of 31m, and will be able to carry up to 650 cars, with accommodation for 2,400 passengers in 649 cabins.
Costing €270m (£25 million), it will enter service in spring 2017 with the 2004-built Pont-Aven, currently Brittany Ferries’ largest unit at 40,589gt, replacing the Portsmouth-St Malo route’s long-serving veteran of the fleet, Bretagne (1989/25,015gt).
Brittany Ferries and STX have been studying the feasibility of powering a cruise-ferry by LNG for the past two years. There are also plans to convert Pont-Aven, Mont St Michel (2002/35,592gt) from the Portsmouth-Caen route and Plymouth-based Armorique (2009/24,968gt) to LNG fuel, with Brittany Ferries expecting French state support amounting to 40 per cent of the total costs.