The first of five LNG conversions planned by Mediterranean ferry operator Baleària Eurolineas Maritimas SA has recently been completed by Gibdock shipyard in Gibraltar. The 186m-long Napoles, with capacity for 1,600 passengers and 1,430 lane metres of cargo, will soon be followed by a second ferry, the 950-passenger and 75-vehicle Sicilia, later this year.
The Napoles conversion, described as possibly the most complex and demanding project ever undertaken by the shipyard, could well lead to a new income stream for Gibdock as other vessel operators in southern Europe choose to switch to LNG for fuel. Not only are the environmental benefits clear, but fuel analysts also point out that abundant and increasing supplies of LNG are likely to mean that the economics make good sense in an era of significantly higher conventional marine fuel prices.
Gibdock managing director, Richard Beards, commented: “Baleària is a longstanding client for scheduled repair and maintenance work, so it made perfect sense to carry out the conversion at Gibdock. We are delighted to have been entrusted with this landmark project, which was a first for us and Baleària; the experience will ensure that the Sicilia conversion goes even more smoothly.”