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European Union recognises Baleària fuel switch to LNG

12 Oct 2018

A request by Spanish shipping line Baleària for CEF (Connecting Europe Facility) funds to support a ferry engine retrofit project to use liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a bunker fuel has been given an ‘excellent’ rating by the European Union (EU), it says.

The EU believes the project is highly relevant with a score of 5 out of 5, highlighting that “it makes it possible to meet the objectives set forth in Regulation 1315/2013 on efficiency, sustainability and cohesion, and will help decarbonise maritime transport”.

As such, the European Commission has granted the shipping company a maximum subsidy of €11,797,424 (of the €15 million / USD $17.4 million requested), which accounts for 20% of the investment Baleària will make for retrofits on five ferries which will be undertaken starting at the end of 2018 through 2021.

The evaluating commission considered the project to be ready for implementation as “it is technically very developed and the funding is guaranteed”.

Besides emphasising the support of three banks ready to grant the necessary loan, it indicates that “the cost-benefit analysis is based on a solid methodology and is exhaustive”.

The Chairman of Baleària, Adolfo Utor, reflected his satisfaction with this award.

“Our medium-term goal is to become the shipping company with the most sustainable and eco-efficient fleet in the sector,” he says.

As of 2020, shipping companies operating within the European Union and the exclusive economic area will have to use low-sulphur fuels due to the IMO 2020 regulation.

The use of LNG in the five ships to be fitted with new engines (Nápoles, Abel Matutes, Sicilia, Bahama Mama and Martín i Soler) is expected to reduce more than 45,000 tons of CO2 annually as well as 4,400 tons of nitrogen oxide (NOx) in addition to fully eliminating sulphur and particle emissions.

The first of the ships to be fitted with a new engine will be the Nápoles as of mid-November.

Photo credit: Baleària
Published: 12 October, 2018


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