Baleària begins the conversion to natural gas of the Sicilia ferry
Baleària began the retrofitting of its Sicilia ferry so that it can navigate on LNG. The conversion will be ready in June it is expected to become the company’s sixth LNG-powered ship after the Bahama Mama, which will finalize its conversion at the end of March and will begin operating on the Barcelona-Ibiza route. In addition, both vessels will be the first in the fleet to feature sensors for real-time measurement of consumption and emissions.
During the conversion works of the Sicilia, which are carried out in the Portuguese West Sea shipyard (in Viana do Castelo), the ship's engines and engine room will be adapted for natural gas propulsion, and a natural gas storage tank will be installed. This LNG storage tank has a capacity for 425 cubic meters, allowing a range of about 1,100 miles. The installation will be done in an inner deck, so that part of several decks must be cut in order to place the tank and then close them again.
Regarding the propulsion, the two current MAN9L48/60 engines will be adapted and become the 9L51/60DF version, manufactured by MAN Energy Solutions. These are dual fuel engines that can be driven by natural gas, but also by diesel or fuel oil. This will allow the ferry to reduce the emission of 9,100 tons of CO2 per year, the same as taking nearly 6,000 cars off the road or planting 18,000 new trees
The use of LNG is a strategic commitment of Baleària, which responds to criteria of social responsibility and economic profitability. In this line, the shipping company is immersed in various projects that will allow it to have nine LNG ships in the next two years. It already has four ships powered by this fuel, and this year will add three more conversions (including the Bahama Mama and the Sicilia) and the incorporation of the new Eleonor Roosevelt, the world's first fast ferry with natural gas engines. The fleet plan will be completed in 2021 with the last conversion.
It should be remembered that Baleària will invest a total of about 380 million euros in this natural gas powered fleet, and that part of the conversion is co-financed through the CEF funds of the European Union.