Brittany Ferries have been forced to suspend plans to upgrade much of its fleet to operate on Liquefied Natural Gas and also put on hold its construction of an LNG-powered ‘Pegasis Project’ cruise ferry for service from Portsmouth and Plymouth to Santander in Spain.
Plans to comply with new emissions rules from 2015 included the installation of scrubbers on three ships and the conversion to allow three newer vessels to operate on LNG. But Brittany Ferries chairman Jean Marc Roué commented: ‘It is impossible to commit to an ecological transition plan which requires such a high level of investment when, due to the absence of a temporary exemption, we will also incur hefty additional annual costs amounting to tens of millions of euros due to being obliged to use diesel instead of heavy fuel oil until our ships have been converted. We have worked tirelessly for a temporary exemption, but these efforts have been in vain. Without it, the economic viability of our LNG programme is in jeopardy.’
Brittany Ferries will still undertake a less ambitious transition plan, which will meet or exceed requirements of the new emissions rules. The scheme includes the installation of scrubbers on the three ships, which it had planned to convert to operate on LNG, and represents an investment of between €70 million and €80 million
The process started on 18 October, when Normandie arrived in Santander for installation of scrubbers. Work was to start on the €270 million Pegasis – Power Efficient Gas Innovative Ship – at STX Saint Nazaire in 2015, with delivery of the 52,000gt vessel in 2017, but the yard was struggling to fit the ferry into its sequence of cruise ship orders.