Finnish shipbuilder Rauma Marine Constructions has held a keel-laying ceremony for Aurora Botnia, a new car and passenger ferry being built for Kvarken Link, a Finnish-Swedish consortium.
The first keel-block of the new vessel, weighing about 210 tons, was laid into Rauma shipyard’s dry dock on February 13, 2020.
Slated for delivery in spring 2021, the newbuilding will be operated by shipping company Wasaline under the Finnish flag.
The RoPax ferry was ordered by Kvarken Link, a company owned by the city of Vaasa and the municipality of Umeå. The ship will accommodate 800 passengers and will have a freight capacity of 1,500 lane meters for cargo.
Aurora Botnia will replace Wasa Express, which now operates between Vaasa and Umeå.
The construction of the ship started in September 2019, and the next milestone will be the launching of the ship in the autumn this year. The shipbuilding project is valued at about EUR 120 million (USD 130.3 million).
The new ferry will be the first-ever RoPax ferry with a Clean Design class notation. The vessel will have a hybrid power generation system, as well as an electric propulsion system rarely used in car and passenger ferries.
The four main engines, supplied by Wärtsilä, will run on both liquified natural gas and liquefied biogas. Thanks to this technology, emissions in the Kvarken region of the Gulf of Bothnia will decrease compared to the emissions from the vessel currently operating there, according to Kvarken Link.
The ferry can make use of biogas from a plant in Vaasa, which produces gas from recycled materials. When the vessel is approaching the harbor or departing, it can operate using electrical power from a rather large battery pack.