Norway: Fjord1 Launches World’s Largest Gas Ferry

Norway - Fjord1 Launches World’s Largest Gas Ferry

Today Fjord1 will have a naming ceremony for MF Boknafjord, the world’s largest gas ferry.

The new eco-friendly ferry, delivered by Fiskerstrand BLRT AS, will serve the Arsvågen-Mortavika route on the Boknafjord in Rogaland County, in addition to making sure the Halhjem-Sandvikvåg route in Hordaland County now gets a spare vessel. The traffic on these ferry routes has surged since Fjord1 took over as operator in January 2007.

The naming ceremony will take place at Fiskerstrand Shipyard in Ålesund, Western Norway, with Minister of Transport and Communications Magnhild Meltveit Kleppa as godmother.

More frequent departures

Minister of Transport Magnhild Meltveit Kleppa, remarks that the new ferry will give its users greater convenience in their everyday commute:

This is a great day for travellers in the area. With this third ferry in operation on Boknafjord, we can ensure 20-minute departures—as opposed to every 30 minutes as we have now.”

Leif Øverland, CEO of Fjord1, is glad the traffic challenges are now solved:

Without the new ferry, we would have had an increasing capacity problem on this busy link.

The Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA), that ordered the new ferry due to a large increase in traffic in the area, is also looking forward to get the new ferry in operation.

The increase in traffic on these two ferry links alone has been much higher than our prognosis showed when we started in 2007. The lines and latency have sometimes been longer than what we would like to offer travellers. We are therefore looking forward to getting MF Boknafjord into operation, and we congratulate Fjord1 with the new build,” says Øyvind Haaland, leader at the road and transport section in NPRA, Region West.

About 2,2 million cars and about five million passengers used the two ferry links in 2011. The ferry shall also serve as a spare vessel for Bjørnefjorden in case of planned maintenance downtime or any unforeseen problems. The route will then run according to the schedule in effect today.

An eco-friendly solution

Øverland also points out that this is a great day for the environment. In reducing NOX emissions of approximately 90 per cent, the natural gas-powered ferries are very environment-friendly:

We strive to minimise our effect on the environment around us, and are therefore encouraged by the government’s strong focus on eco-friendly forms of energy consumption in the tendering process”, says Leif Øverland, CEO of Fjord1.

Aside from being gas-powered, the ferry’s hull design and more efficient engine technology yield additional energy savings by reducing fuel consumption and methane emissions.

By changing from diesel to natural gas, virtually all emissions of particles (smoke/soot) are eliminated, as well as all emissions of sulphur. Furthermore, CO2 emissions will be reduced by as much as 25 per cent.

Fjord1: a world leader for gas-powered ferries

Fjord1 has long focused on eco-friendly transport solutions. The company, which started operating the world’s first gas ferry Glutra in Møre og Romsdal County in 2000, is a market leader in the operation of gas-powered car ferries. The ferry route serving the coastal trunk road in Rogaland and Hordaland Counties has since 2007 been served by five such ferries from Fjord1. This third ferry on the Arsvågen-Mortavika route—which will also be a substitute vessel for Halhjem-Sandvikvåg—will thus be the sixth gas ferry in this region. By the end of 2011, Fjord1 will have 12 gas ferries in operation along the Norwegian coast, making the company a world leader.

We have an increased focus on environmental aspects in all parts of our company, and look forward to using this modern, future-oriented ferry in our transport network”, says Stig Kristoffersen, Managing Director of Fjord1 Fylkesbaatane, which operates these ferries.

About MF Boknafjord

The new, gas-operated ferry is designed by Multi Maritime AS in Førde, Western Norway and has a total length of 129.9 m, a maximum width of 19.2 m and a capacity of 242 passenger cars or 22 heavy goods vehicles in combination with passenger cars. The ferry holds 600 passengers including staff. The ferry is built according to Det Norske Veritas’s Class, has deadweight of approx. 1350 metric tonnes and is approx. 7500 register tonnes. Furthermore, the ship has four azimuth thrusters that are run by a gas-electric system consisting of three large LNG motors and alternators. The gas motors will give a service speed of approx. 20 knots.

World Maritime News Staff, December 14, 2011

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