Finnish ferry company Wasaline is building a new RoPax ferry that will be ready for remote operations and equipped to run on liquefied natural gas (LNG), thereby making it one of the world’s most efficient and environmentally sustainable ships.
The new ferry, scheduled for delivery in May 2021, would be operated between Vaasa, Finland and Umeå, Sweden. It is being built by Rauma Marine Constructions in Finland.
Speaking to World Maritime News at the Nor-Shipping event in Oslo, Peter Ståhlberg, Managing Director at NLC Ferry/Wasaline, said that the whole concept of the automated ship is not yet completed, however, the company is working on developing and adapting it.
He explained that the major challenge of this concept is the lack of rules and regulations for automation.
With the ship’s combination of Wärtsilä’s 31DF dual-fuel engines, hybrid propulsion, and LNG and BioLNG fuel, the CO2 emissions would be reduced by more than 50 percent compared to Wasaline’s current ferry serving the route.
The ferry will be able to accommodate 800 passengers and will have 1,500 lane metres available for trucks and passenger vehicles. It has an ice class of 1A Super, helping the vessel navigate in the challenging ice conditions of the Kvarken region as independently as possible.
The dual-fuel and battery powered vessel will also feature ABB Azipod electric propulsion system for ferries.
According to an independent study by marine consultancy Deltamarin, the system could save up to USD 1.7 million in annual fuel costs per vessel.
In June 2019, ABB launched a new series of mid-power range Azipod propulsion systems to help ferries improve energy efficiency and lower emissions.
The global ferry industry, which transports 2.1 billion passengers every year, according to trade association Interferry, is facing increased pressure to meet the International Maritime Organization’s target of reducing annual emissions by 30 percent by 2025.
“With the launch of the mid-power range Azipod propulsion, we will be able to empower more shipowners to improve the performance of their vessels while lowering environmental impact,” Peter Terwiesch, President of the Industrial Automation business at ABB, said announcing the product earlier this month.