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Balearia wins EUR 11.8m grant to finance five ferry conversions to LNG

EU financing represents 20% of the EUR 60m the company plans to spend on the project.



The Abel Matutes has been retrofitted with a 30-cubic-metre LNG storage tank and an auxiliary natural gas engine built by Rolls-Royce. Image credit: Balearia


Updated on 10 Oct 2018 10:20 GMT

Balearia has been awarded a grant of up to EUR 11.8m by the European Union (EU) to convert five of its ferries to LNG.

The amount is EUR 3.2m below the EUR 15m requested by the Spanish ferry operator and represents 19.7 percent of the EUR 60m the company intends to spend on the project.

The vessels Bahama Mama, Martin i Soler, Naples and Sicily, as well as the previously retrofitted Abel Matutes, form part of the initiative, which is expected to annually reduce more than 45,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2), 4,400 tonnes of nitrogen oxide (NOx) and eliminate sulphur and particulate emissions completely.

The Naples is set to be converted to gas propulsion this winter.

Top EU rating

The EU is said to have given Balearia's five-vessel gas conversion programme its top five-out-of-five rating, highlighting that "it helps to meet the objectives of Regulation 1315/2013 in relation to efficiency, sustainability and cohesion, and will contribute to the decarbonization of maritime transport".

The evaluation committee also took into account the fact that the project is ready to be implemented and financing is "assured" - with three banks prepared to cover the loan.

Furthermore, the EU observed that "the cost-benefit analysis is based on a solid methodology and is comprehensive", and noted that the project has practically all the necessary approvals at national, regional and local levels.

Commenting on the news, Balearia's president, Adolfo Utor, said the EU grant supports the main challenge of the company: to implement the use of LNG within its fleet.

"Our goal is to become the shipping company in the medium term with the most sustainable and eco-efficient fleet in the [ferry] sector", he remarked.

Plan to have nine ships running on LNG by 2021

As previously reported, in addition to the aforementioned five vessels, Balearia is also building two new, dual-fuel, gas-powered ferries at the Cantiere Navale Visentini shipyard in Italy. The first is expected to be operational from next February.

Meanwhile, the LNG-fuelled ferry that was ordered in 2016 from Construcciones Navales del Norte SL (LaNaval) shipyard in Sestao, Spain, is scheduled to enter into regular service in 2019 - bringing the total number of LNG-powered ships (including the five conversions) to eight.

And in July, Utor explained that there would be one further LNG-fuelled vessel added to the fleet by 2021 when he stated, in reference to LNG, that "in three years the company plans to have nine ships sailing with this energy".

Balearia currently has 30 vessels in its fleet, 26 of which are owned.






Related Links:

Fenosa performs Valencia's first LNG bunker delivery
Balearia launches ferry with scrubber system
Fenosa and Balearia ink Spain's first multi-year LNG bunker supply deal
Fuel-saving ferry, LNG-powered ships were 'main milestones' of 2017: Balearia
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