Balearia's first bunker-saving 'eco fast' ferry in operation

The Eco Aqua starts operating between Ibiza and Formentera.



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Updated on 27 Dec 2017 10:13 GMT

Balearia's first bunker-saving 'eco fast ferry' has begun operating between the islands of Ibiza and Formentera.

The 28-metre-long vessel, named Eco Aqua, completed berthing tests in both locations on December 24, achieving what is described by the firm as being "satisfactory results".

The new ferry is the first in a series of four ships. In line with Balearia's commitment to the environment, the Spanish shipping firm decided to name the ferries after four classical elements in nature: Eco Aqua, Eco Terra, Eco Aire and Eco Lux.

The fuel-saving vessels feature a wave-piercing bow and photovoltaic solar panels, supplying energy on board. They will also be powered by state-of-the-art engines designed to minimize emissions.

Furthermore, the hull is made of polyester reinforced with fiberglass, which does not require the application of paint, and consequently is more ecological.

LNG

As previously reported by Bunker Index, in February, Balearia ordered two new, dual-fuel, gas-powered ferries to be built at the Cantiere Navale Visentini shipyard in Italy. The vessels are expected to be operational by the end of 2018, bringing Balearia's total number of LNG-fuelled ferries to four. Last year, the Spanish firm ordered its first newbuild LNG-powered ro-ro ferry from Construcciones Navales del Norte SL (LaNaval) shipyard in Sestao, Spain. Wartsila is to carry out the design and supply of the LNG power and propulsion installation. When it enters into regular service in 2019, it is set to be the largest ferry in operation in the Mediterranean.

Balearia's other LNG-fuelled ferry, the 2010-built Abel Matutes, has already been retrofitted with a 30-cubic-metre LNG storage tank and an auxiliary natural gas engine built by Rolls-Royce, and was refuelled with LNG in Barcelona for the first time on January 29.

In 2016, Balearia's fleet of ships sailed 1,045,000 nautical miles on all its routes - 13 percent more than the previous year - as a result of the increased service offering on some sailings, and the opening of new crossings. The fleet's Eco-efficiency Index was 0.17 kg CO2/tonne per nautical mile covered.

The company's 18 routes in 2016 covered the Balearic Islands, Ceuta and Melilla, Morocco, Algeria the Caribbean.