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P&O LIBERTE © P&O Ferries

P&O LIBERTE © P&O Ferries

P&O Ferries second battery-hybrid double-ender giant P&O LIBERTÉ enters service

FerryThe final piece in a jigsaw that has taken over six years to complete and cost GBP 250 million is finally in place, with the entering into service on 19 March of P&O Ferries second new giant double-ender ro-pax ferry P&O LIBERTÉ. P&O LIBERTÉ undertook the 09.30 sailing from Calais to Dover on 19 March, joining sistership P&O PIONEER, which entered service in June last year.

The two new battery-hybrid Fusion-class vessels have been designed by Denmark’s OSK Design and built by China’s Guangzhou International Shipyard. The 230m long, 47,653 gt sisterships are the world’s largest and fastest double-ender ferries, with a service speed of 20.8 knots.

P&O Ferries CEO, Peter Hebblethwaite said: “The arrival of our second revolutionary hybrid vessel means we can offer even more of our customers the best travel experience and facilities available on the Channel.

“In the nine months since the first of our new vessels entered service, P&O PIONEER has become a transport icon, contributing to the 135,000 tonnes of carbon emissions reduced from our operations in the last two years.

“Our customers – tourists and freight – have welcomed our new hybrid ship with open arms and we are excited to bring P&O LIBERTÉ into service.

“Today, we are upgrading our fleet, delivering an unrivalled service to our customers and leading in the decarbonisation of ferry travel in the UK and Europe.”

Mr Hebblethwaite explained to SHIPPAX the situation regarding future newbuildings. He said: “P&O Ferries don’t have any plans to build more Fusion-class vessels at present. But that could change in the future.”

The two new Fusion-class vessels can each carry 1,500 passengers and offer 2,592 lanemetres for freight vehicles, plus space for 182 cars. The Chinese newbuildings will operate alongside P&O Ferries two existing Spirit-class ro-pax ferries – SPIRIT OF BRITAIN and SPIRIT OF FRANCE, built in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

Both Fusion-class ferries are powered by a cleaner, greener battery-hybrid propulsion system reducing carbon emissions by up to 40 per cent compared to older vessels. The new ferries propulsion system uses ultra-low sulphur fuel and batteries. The design has the ability to be battery powered exclusively. However, this will require both the ports of Calais and Dover to invest in shore power systems and there is no indication currently when this will take place.

Each new Fusion-class ferry features four Wärtsilä 16V31 diesel engines, each with an output of 9,600 kW at 750 rpm. Each main engine drives a single compact ABB Azipod podded propulsion unit, type DO1600, each with a power output of 7,500 kW. Two Azipods are fitted at the Calais-end of each vessel and two at the Dover-end.  As they are double-ender ferries, they don’t have a bow and stern section.

The two new Fusion-class vessels offer passengers and freight drivers the following benefits:

  • Enhanced freight driver facilities: The largest ever dedicated space for freight drivers on the Dover-Calais route, including a separate dining area, lounge and showers.
  • World Duty Free Shopping: The new ferries boast the largest onboard duty-free shop (588m2) from P&O Ferries travel retail partner World Duty Free.
  • Food Market and The Kitchen: Options for passengers include a food market inspired by railway stations and airports, with something for all tastes.
  • Club Lounge: The forward-facing private Club Lounge, accessed by paying extra, has been designed to offer an elegant environment, with a dedicated outside deck space. Passengers can enjoy all-inclusive premium hot and cold food and drinks, which will be in the self-service style seen in an airport lounge.

© Shippax / MH

Mar 19 2024

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