North America’s first liquefied natural gas-fueled ferry was successfully launched from the Fincantieri shipyard in Castellammare di Stabia (Naples), Italy, on June 28. The F.A. Gauthier will have its interior completed while afloat in dock over the next few months with delivery scheduled late this year to the Société des traversiers du Québec (STQ), a Quebec government corporation operating maritime transport for passengers.
The 436-foot (133-metre) vessel is the first-ever gas-powered ferry built in Italy and marks a milestone in maritime construction. Setting any vessel afloat without damage is never a small affair and everyone’s breath was held as a welder torched apart the last steel cable binding the ferry to its slipway. A series of lengthy moorings were used to gently slide the vessel into the water and guide it by tug into its finishing dock.
Named in honour of Félix-Adrien Gauthier, Matane’s former mayor and founder of the Matane-Godbout ferry route, the $148-million ferry will be the STQ’s largest with a capacity for 800 passengers and 180 vehicles. The STQ has two other smaller LNG-powered ferries on order.
Wärtsilä, a Green Marine partner, supplied the gas-powered propulsion machinery and corresponding gas storage and handling capabilities with four Wärtsilä 34DF (dual-fuel) engines and a Wärtsilä LNGPac (liquefied natural gas fuel system). The engines can run on either LNG or marine diesel oil and the propulsion system fully meets Emission Control Area (ECA) requirements.
The system of ramps at both the bow and stern will facilitate quick loading and unloading.
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