First LNG-powered ferry to begin service in Quebec

FA Gauthier-Ferry-Quebec-LNG-Italy-shipbuilding-EDIWeekly
F. A. Gauthier left the Naples shipyard on April 1 to sail to Quebec.

 

The first liquefied natural gas-powered ferry “of its kind” to operate in North America left the Italian shipyard where it was built on April 1 and set sail for Québec. The F A Gauthier, which is also the first LNG ship built by Fincantieri in its shipyard in Castellammare di Stabia (Naples), was built for the Société des traversiers du Québec (STQ), the Québec crown corporation that operates the province’s ferries.

According to Fincantieri, the new vessel represents a “genuine technological revolution,” featuring the most advanced energy-saving and environmental-impact solutions, which will enable the reduction of CO2, NOx (nitrogen oxide) and SOx (sulphur oxide) emissions. The dual fuel ship’s propulsion system is powered by four diesel-powered electric generators that can run on either diesel or LNG.

At 133 metres long and 22 metres wide, the F A Gauthier has a maximum speed of 20 knots and can carry 800 passengers and 180 vehicles. The ship is also built to break sea ice and to operate in the harsh climatic conditions of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

According to the American Oil & Gas Reporter, there are now just 30 LNG-powered vessels in service worldwide, and another 30 in design or construction. Some of these are destined for Canada. The government of British Columbia has said it intends to switch to LNG for all ferries operated in the province, and Quebec has two more of the vessels currently on order. The first ship with LNG propulsion was launched in 2001 in Norway.

LNG offers an important economic advantage to shipowners, as well as the environmental benefits to the public. The cost of LNG is considerably below that of marine diesel; depending on market conditions, the cost saving can be 50 per cent or more. Since fuel costs are second only to labour costs in operating a fleet of ferries, such large savings are attractive. B.C. Ferries has said that running five vessels on LNG will save it about $12 million a year in fuel costs, about 10 per cent of its total annual fuel bill.

Stricter emissions regulations are helping push adoption of LNG-powered shipping. Both east and west sea coasts of North America, as well as the coasts of Northern Europe are classified as emission control areas (ECAs) under the terms of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships. The new Italian-built ferry coming to Canada meets these ECA requirements, which will become stricter over the next ten years or so.

The technical obstacles to implementing LNG as a shipping fuel have been eliminated, according to experts (Det Norsk Veritas), and there have been no major safety incidents recorded. In fact, the biggest impediment to the wider adoption of LNG in the near term is the lack of production infrastructure. A report by the American Clean Skies Foundation notes that development of the infrastructure could erode the cost benefits of using LNG.

Did you miss this?

Other Popular Stories

  • Ontario to invest $900 million in energy-saving retrofits in social housing, rental stock
  • BC sees 100,000 LNG jobs, $1 trillion in revenues
  • TransCanada confident Energy East pipeline will be built
  • Toronto Hydro reports on sustainability, social responsibility
  • Labour groups welcome interim report on precarious workers in Ontario
  • Vehicle sales, mainly light trucks, continued to soar in January
  • Government money to Ontario auto parts maker will ensure jobs
  • Renewable energy advocates optimistic, but political will is lacking
  • Statoil and Husky Energy find "significant" oil offshore Newfoundland
  • MRO contract of $423 million for Canada's CC-130 Hercules fleet
  • Scientists discover evidence of water on the moon: spectrometer revealed 30 hydroxyl parts per million collected by Chinese Lunar Lander Chang'E-5A
  • Progress made on Detroit River cleanup: fish no longer smells
  • Bombardier promises to deal with Toronto's streetcars, while CSeries sales take off
  • Canada will reduce oil and gas industry emissions
  • GM investing in connected car research at Waterloo U
  • Within 10 years, almost 50 percent of retail jobs may disappear to automation
  • Provinces of Alberta and B.C. cashing in on drilling rights; surpasses 2016 as commodities strengthen
  • Lobby groups working hard to convince Obama on Keystone
  • Space X Falcon Heavy launch live! 'Great rocket launch or the best fireworks display,' says Elon Musk. Watch the launch at 3pm today live on EDI Weekly
  • Toyota Canada top producer for first time in 2015; RAV4 on a roar
Scroll to Top