January 4, 2021. Baleària plans to incorporate in March 2021 the world’s first fast ferry for passengers and cargo powered by natural gas internal combustion engines. In the next few weeks, the Eleanor Roosevelt will carry out sea trials at the Armón shipyards in Gijón, where it is being built.
The armament of the ship’s hull is practically completed and tests have been carried out on the access ramp for vehicles and cargo. The works are now mainly focused on the fitting out of the lounges for the passage, as well as on the command bridge and the electronic installation.
“The works are progressing and in a few months we will have operating one of the most innovative and sustainable vessels in the world. Joining the fleet will be a milestone in Baleària’s history, but also in maritime transport at an international level”, explains Guillermo Alomar, Baleària’s Fleet Director. The fast ferry incorporates measurement equipment to monitor actual fuel consumption, calculate engine efficiency and adjust navigation to increase comfort based on sea conditions. “The innovations that it incorporates will considerably reduce movement, vibrations and noise”, details Alomar.
With an investment of 90 million euros, the Eleanor Roosevelt will also be the longest fast ferry in the world (at 123 meters). It will have capacity for 1,200 passengers and a warehouse for 500 linear meters of trucks and 250 cars, or alternatively 450 cars. The vessel will have a service speed of 35 knots (with a maximum speed greater than 40 knots).
In addition to being the first in the world of its characteristics with dual liquefied natural gas (LNG) engines, it will also be innovative thanks to the smart ship technological improvements that it incorporates, which will guarantee a better experience for customers on board: passengers will be able to access by a QR code that they will receive via WhatsApp, indicating the assigned seat number; during the entire journey they will have Internet service and WhatsApp coverage for text messages and they will be able to enjoy a free digital entertainment platform from their mobile devices, as well as see their pets through webcams installed in the cages. In the design of the interiors, the amplitude of the spaces and the separation between seats have prevailed.
The Eleanor Roosevelt will be the flagship of Baleària’s gas fleet strategy, which in 2021 will reach 9 ships (it currently sails with 6 natural gas and is remotorizing one more). The shipping company has invested 380 million euros to incorporate gas into its fleet, a fuel that implies a considerable reduction in emissions (with an immediate improvement in air quality and the greenhouse effect) and noise pollution. Specifically, CO2 emissions are reduced by 30%, NOx emissions by 85%, and sulfur and particulate matter are eliminated.