The new Brittany Ferries vessel “Salamanca” has completed its first crossing between the Irish port of Rosslare and the port of Bilbao. The ferry is the first of the fleet to sail with natural gas (LNG), and will depart from Bilbao every Thursday and Sunday to Ireland.
Until recently, the route had been operated by the Connemara vessel. The company mentioned the ship had a reduced number of services for travelers. “Now that the route is established and operates smoothly, attention has been focused on improving services and increasing passenger traffic,” the company said in a statement.
The “Salamanca” is more like a cruise ship than a simple ferry, and thanks to this, passengers can enjoy the facilities designed to make the most of the crossing. The addition of this ship to the route with Ireland will expand and improve the offer for both freight and passengers, offering the latter a much more comfortable crossing.
There is no doubt that the Rosslare-Bilbao route has been a success, and we are pleased with the way it has been undertaken so far.Jean-Marc Roué, president of Brittany Ferries
The “Salamanca” has 2.7 linear kilometers for vehicles, which translates to about 150 trucks combined with light vehicles. It is an E-Flexer class vessel, which is 214.5 meters long and 27.8 meters wide, displacing 41,716 tons. The ship is the French shipping company’s first LNG carrier, a cleaner fuel, which thanks to its more efficient combustion process than the burning of traditional fossil fuels, reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 20%.
“Due to the high demand we have received from Irish and Spanish people looking for a quick and convenient getaway. The task now is to work in partnership with the Irish and Spanish tourist boards to ensure that travelers fill our ships and enrich the destinations of both markets,” said Jean-Marc Roué, president of Brittany Ferries.
The renewal of the fleet is one of the main pillars of Brittany Ferries’ recovery after the pandemic. The “Salamanca” is the first of the four new LNG-powered vessels that are about to arrive to the company. The next will be the “Santoña” which will join the fleet in 2023. Both vessels will serve the Spain-England routes, the “Salamanca” operating the route from the port of Bilbao, and the “Santoña” from the port of Santander. “This step represents a firm commitment in our long-term plan to connect Spain and Ireland, tripling the passenger capacity on one of the largest ships in the fleet,” the company stated.
Brittany Ferries will put into rotation two new LNG hybrid vessels arriving in 2024 and 2025. These ships will replace two of the oldest vessels in the Brittany Ferries fleet, the “Bretagne” and the “Normandie”, covering routes between the UK and France and will operate on the same principle as a hybrid car. At sea it will be fueled by LNG. But it will also operate partially or totally, during docking and departure maneuvers, with batteries that can be recharged during docking, as well as powering systems such as air conditioning, heating and lighting on board.