Ship sail

Salamanca: ‘Big day’ for Portsmouth as Brittany Ferries’ petrol vessel sails through

Brittany Ferries’ newest ship, Salamanca, is set to leave Portsmouth International Port this weekend with more than 600 passengers and freight vehicles bound for Bilbao in Spain.

It is the first ferry in the UK to run on liquefied natural gas (LNG), rather than the usual, much more polluting heavy fuel oil.

Christophe Mathieu, managing director of Brittany Ferries, said Portsmouth was the company’s “hub”.

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The new Salamanca ferry. Photo: Brittany Ferries

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“It’s a great day for Brittany Ferries, but also for the city of Portsmouth,” he said.

“Pumped at Brittany Ferries is like Heathrow Terminal 5 at British Airways.

“It is our hub, where we embark the vast majority of our passengers and cargo, connecting four ports in France and two in northern Spain.

Jean Mac Roue, Christophe Mathieu and Cdt Christophe Bergeroux from Brittany Ferries

“We have served the city for 45 years and look forward to serving it well in the future.

“Portsmouth International Port is a key partner, and with four new LNG vessels on the horizon, including two hybrid vessels, we will play a key role in helping the port achieve its ambition to be the greenest port in the world. UK.”

It is expected that by 2025, four LNG ferries will call at Portsmouth, including two hybrids.

Mr. Mathieu added: “LNG-powered vessels like Salamanca are a clear statement of our commitment to the future and renewal of the fleet.

Inside the new Salamanca Ferry. Photo: Brittany Ferries

“These are cleaner ships, significantly reducing air quality emissions like soot and sulphur. This is good news for port partners today, but they could be even greener in the years to come. Salamanca is capable of running on fuels of the future such as e-methane or bio-methane if these become available in volume.

As reported, the City Council has drawn up a 20-year £92million ‘master plan’ for the port, which includes the provision of shore power for ships at berth and facilities to accommodate hybrid ships and fully electric in the future.

Council leader Councilor Gerald Vernon-Jackson welcomed Salamanca’s arrival.

Inside the new Salamanca Ferry. Photo: Brittany Ferries

He said: “This is really good news and shows Brittany Ferries’ confidence in working in Portsmouth.”

“It is also very good news that the ferries – not just Salamanca – but the following ones will use liquefied gas rather than heavy fuel oil, which is significantly less polluting.”

“We have all seen warships and ferries with black smoke coming out of funnels. This is a very big step that will inevitably lead to improved air quality.

He added: “I am very optimistic, I think the port is doing well. We’ve had a tough couple of years due to Covid, but the market is improving.

“We have strengthened the port’s future by deliberately diversifying it.”

Salamanca will make two round trips to Bilbao each week – one way taking around 28 hours. It will also make a weekly round trip to Cherbourg in France.

Inside the new Salamanca Ferry. Photo: Brittany Ferries

And Brittany Ferries is set to strengthen its partnership with Portsmouth even further next year when Salamanca’s sister ship, the Santona, joins the fleet, providing a service between Portsmouth and Santander.

Salamanca is one of the largest vessels in the Brittany Ferries fleet at 214.5m in length.

A message from the editor, Mark Waldron

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The new Salamanca ferry. Photo: Brittany Ferries