The port of Bilbao has been the venue for the inauguration of the Salamanca, an LNG-powered goods and passenger ferry of the shipping company Brittany Ferries. The ferry is scheduled to provide a twice weekly service (Tuesdays and Saturdays) between Bilbao and the English port of Portsmouth. The inauguration ceremony was attended, among other guests, by the General Manager of Brittany Ferries, Christophe Mathieu, and the President of the Port Authority of Bilbao, Ricardo Barkala.
The Salamanca is 215 m. long, almost 30 m wide, has ten decks and 2.7 km of lane space for passenger vehicles and lorries. Equipped with a crew of 85, the ferry can accommodate over 1,000 passengers and will become the first LNG-powered vessel to operate regularly in the English Channel.
LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) is currently the best option for reducing the environmental impact of shipping, but is likely to be replaced by other options over time. When this happens, the Salamanca will be prepared for it, as it has been designed to be able to switch to even cleaner energy sources in the future.
Repsol LNG filling station
The use of LNG as a fuel has meant the port of Bilbao has had to equip itself with an infrastructure for refuelling. In this case, the facilities required have been set up by Repsol, which has installed a cryogenic tank with a storage capacity of 1,000 m³, enabling natural gas to be stored in a liquid state at -160ºC. The flexible design of the terminal enables it to service different vessels in the future, and represents an important decarbonisation opportunity for port operations.
The project involves an investment of more than EUR 10 million by Repsol, and will be co-funded by the European Commission through the CEF – Connecting Europe Facilities – programme.
Design and technology at the service of the environment
The Salamanca ferry is not only more environmentally friendly but also more comfortable and quieter. It has a long and slender hull and bow, both of which help to ensure a high level of hydrodynamic performance. It has anti-recoil fin stabilisers, very useful when sailing in the Bay of Biscay, and the friction-reducing silicone paint coating the hull makes for smoother sailing and reduces fuel consumption.
Likewise, hydrodynamic efficiency and excellent performance at sea have made it possible to equip the Salamanca with only two engines, as opposed to four in equivalent vessels, thereby saving a considerable amount of energy. As LNG-powered engines produce almost zero sulphur oxide emissions, the Salamanca does not need an integrated exhaust-emission scrubber, thereby reducing electricity consumption. There is also no need for stern thrusters because the bow thrusters operate with flap rudders, the high-lift type with twisted leading edges, which smooth out port turns.
Thanks to the use of powerful real-time data analysis on board the vessel and the development of machine learning, energy efficiency can be optimised at all times. Insulation on board the Salamanca is excellent and noise is kept to a minimum, and on shore, the generators are much less noticeable than those on other vessels.
To facilitate port manoeuvring, the vessel has a new navigation tool known as a smart docking system, designed to assist captains in approaching a quay and to help reduce manoeuvring time. Furthermore, the company is also working to enable electric vehicle charging on board, and the garage decks, as well as all the ship’s lights, are LED-lit.
A striking interior design
The interior design, artwork and cuisine of the Salamanca are inspired by the city that bears its name, steeped in history, art and tradition, as well as by the whole of the region of Castilla y León.
On deck ten there is an outdoor terrace full of works of art, three children’s playrooms, numerous lounges, restaurants and bars and two large shops located in the heart of the ship. Here you can find everything from perfumes and souvenirs to wine and newspapers.
In total there are 343 cabins, all with en-suite bathrooms, and 37 cabins for truck drivers. A number of the 343 cabins are adapted for passengers with reduced mobility, and there are also cabins reserved exclusively for passengers travelling with their dog or cat.
The ferry also features over 200 individual works of art, spread over the three main decks and equivalent to a large art exhibition. There is a small exhibition dedicated exclusively to Velázquez’s “Las Meninas”, the work of the pop artist Felipao with two large modern sculptures, and the Dutch artistic and photographic duo Nienke Klunder and Wiglius de Bie, popularly known as KlunderBie.