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Tuesday, November 30, 2021 

Ro-pax operator Brittany Ferries has taken delivery of its next E-Flexer vessel, 'Salamanca', from Stena RoRo, from whom the LNG-fuelled vessel has been taken on long-term charter.

Christophe Mathieu, CEO Brittany Ferries, said: “Fleet renewal is key to our business strategy. It is one of the pillars that will drive our recovery from the Covid crisis and deliver another successful 50 years for Brittany Ferries. So it is with gratitude that we thank our partners at Stena RoRo and everyone involved in her construction. From customers and suppliers, to the crew that will sail with her, we all look forward to welcoming Salamanca to the Brittany Ferries family ahead of her sister ship Santoña a year later.”

Jean-Marc Roué, president Brittany Ferries added: “Continued investment is necessary to ensure that we do not fall behind in the renewal of our fleet. More efficient and competitive ships are the guarantee of our recovery.”

Salamanca has recently completed sea trials on the Yellow Sea in China, with the ship under power by LNG for the first time.

Preparation for her entry into service in February 2022 includes training the French crews on a dedicated LNG simulator at the company’s Atalante training centre in St Malo which has been used to train staff for the last two months. Teams are learning the skills needed to bunker Salamanca, as well as new safety procedures relating to a fuel that promises very low air pollution and lower CO2 from combustion.

Work has recently started on LNG bunkering terminals in the ports of Bilbao and Santander, to be used for refuelling Salamanca and Santoña, the latter of which will join the fleet in 2023. Both vessels will serve UK-Spain routes.

Salamanca is the first ship in Brittany Ferries’ fleet renewal programme to be powered by LNG. She is one of four new vessels to come in the years ahead, following the arrival of Galicia last December. Two hybrid LNG-electric vessels will follow in 2024/2025 as replacements for Bretagne (constructed in 1989) and Normandie (1992). The hybrids will carry passengers on UK-France routes and will be equipped for shore-side power.

Mathieu said: “Our training centre at Atalante in St Malo is a state-of-the-art facility that was opened in 2019. It is equipping our sailors with the tools they need to be ready for Salamanca and her sister ships in the years to come.”

With four LNG vessels on the horizon, Brittany Ferries has begun to instil a culture of gas-readiness among all staff. Training is of course key. The LNG simulator in St Malo is a digital mock-up of the Salamanca‘s LNG fuel-loading, storage and preparation systems. It enables teams to be trained in their operation, reproducing any situation with which they may be faced. Virtual bunkering (re-fuelling) can be undertaken in a wide variety of simulated situations. The simulator also allows staff to train in maintenance, and to practise specific procedures such as the complete shut-down of the LNG system.

Because the simulator is compact and transportable, it can therefore be used for onboard training as well as shore-based.

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