• 2021 June 16 18:02

    Brittany Ferries eyes zero-emission, sea-skimming ‘flying ferries’

    Brittany Ferries is exploring the potential for a new high-speed, sustainable and more efficient form of ferry travel called a seaglider, according to the company's release. The concept, an all-electric, wing-in-ground effect vehicle (WIG), is under development in the United States through Boston-based start-up REGENT (Regional Electric Ground Effect Nautical Transport).

    Brittany Ferries has signed a letter of intent which could see seagliders with a 50-150 passenger capacity sailing between the UK and France by 2028. REGENT expects the first commercial passengers to travel on smaller electric craft by 2025.

    Seagliders combine the convenience of passenger ferries with the comfort of hydrofoils, the aerodynamic efficiency of hovercraft and the speed of aircraft. With the potential to connect existing ferry ports, the craft are expected to fly at speeds of up to 180 mph – six times faster than conventional ferries – with a battery-powered range of 180 miles.

    The voyage from Portsmouth to Cherbourg, for example, could be covered in as little as 40 minutes.

    They work by harnessing a concept well-known to pilots – ground effect. This is the cushion created by high-pressure air trapped between wings and the ground or water while flying at low altitude. Seagliders are therefore akin to a hovercraft with wings, rather than a skirt.

    Following departure from port, the craft rises on foils insulating passengers from wave discomfort. In open waters, it takes off, riding the air cushion all the way to its destination. Wing-mounted propellors provide the thrust to take to the air at low speeds, while electric motors regulate air flow over wings while riding the air cushion.

    It’s a highly efficient mode of transport, capable of moving significant loads over long distances at high speed. Power will come from batteries rather than fossil fuel. Flight safety comes courtesy of redundant propulsion and flight control systems, with next-generation sensor suites detecting and automatically avoiding traffic at sea.

    Energy transition is a priority for forward-looking companies like Brittany Ferries and is key to its recovery post-Covid. Based in Roscoff France, the company has already invested in the delivery of two new LNG (liquefied natural gas) ships for delivery in 2022 and 2023 called Salamanca and Santoña.

    Its partnership with REGENT goes one step further. It is a visionary project which offers an exciting glimpse into the future, the kind of vehicle never before seen in Franco-British waters. Brittany Ferries is contributing to development discussions, as the company has a track record in operating fast ferries such as Normandie Express (currently chartered to Condor Ferries).

    REGENT is working on several different sizes of passenger-carrying seagliders, all of which operate on the same principle. Operating a few meters above the water’s surface, they combine the high speed of an aeroplane with the low operating cost of a ship. It has the potential to serve routes of up to 180 miles with existing battery technology, and routes up to 500 miles with next-generation batteries.

    Both Brittany Ferries and REGENT understand that many technological, practical and regulatory milestones lie ahead. However, both companies say that caution should not stand as an impediment to the development of a promising concept that already has a history in military applications and smaller leisure craft operating around the world. Both companies look forward to the promise of cross-channel services, reduced emissions, and seagliders becoming commonplace.

    For like electric cars, seagliders automatically become greener as more source electricity is generated from renewable sources. And thanks to the inherent efficiency of travelling above water, speed need not be sacrificed to help lower emissions, slow-steaming being one of the solutions proposed for traditional sea-going vehicles to limit environmental footprint.

    About Brittany Ferries

    In 1967 a farmer from Finistère in Brittany, Alexis Gourvennec, succeeded in bringing together a variety of organisations from the region to embark on an ambitious project: the aim was to open up the region, to improve its infrastructure and to enrich its people by turning to traditional partners such as Ireland and the UK.

    In 1972 BAI (Brittany-England-Ireland) was born. The first cross-Channel link was inaugurated in January 1973, when a converted Israeli tank-carrier called Kerisnel left the port of Roscoff for Plymouth carrying trucks loaded with Breton vegetables such as cauliflowers and artichokes. The story therefore begins on 2 January 1973, 24 hours after Great Britain’s entry into the Common Market (EEC). From these humble beginnings however Brittany Ferries as the company was re-named quickly opened up to passenger transport, then became a tour operator.

    Today, Brittany Ferries has established itself as the national leader in French maritime transport: an atypical leader, under private ownership, still owned by a Breton agricultural cooperative. Eighty five percent of the company’s passengers are British.




2021 July 31

13:08 Ammpower Corp signs MOU to provide green ammonia energy solutions to Porto Central in Brazil
11:47 Tiel-Waardenburg dyke reinforcement awarded to Van Oord, Dura Vermeer and Ploegam
11:12 Holland America Line takes delivery of new cruise ship at Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard
10:56 IMI and CSM sign agreement for cooperation in various business areas

2021 July 30

18:22 MEYER WERFT gets new order for a residential yacht
18:10 NYK Line announces delivery of the new LNG carrier Diamond Gas Victoria
17:59 Nutrien and EXMAR partner in building a vessel powered by low-carbon ammonia
17:06 Port of Rotterdam with partners sign an agreement to a joint study for commercial-scale hydrogen imports
16:21 Rhenus plans to acquire the Polish freight forwarding and logistics company C. Hartwig
15:42 Free-to-download report on the status of O&G storage and transshipment industry in Russia
15:21 Half of Dutch hydrogen projects are located in Rotterdam
14:49 Sredne Nevsky Shipyard lays down passenger ship of Project A45-90.2 named Victor Astafyev
14:20 Bollinger Shipyards celebrates commissioning of fast response cutters Henry, Hazard and Hatch in Apra Harbor, Guam
13:58 Balakovsky Shipyard launches hydrographic boat of Project Е35.Г, Yury Osokin, for Northern Sea Route
13:15 Maersk pioneers first block train for Decathlon from Vietnam to France
12:53 Warships of Iran, India and Pakistan navies left Kronstadt after participating in the Main Naval Parade
12:34 12th Dredging & Land Reclamation Asia Summit to be held on September 27-30
12:15 Konecranes wins first customer for EPA-approved new diesel-to-hybrid conversion technology
11:49 Changes in Finnlines’ Management: Marco Palmu appointed as Head of Passenger Services
11:26 Handling of dry bulk cargo in Azov-Black Sea Basin expected to grow by 2035
11:20 MAN Energy Solutions and ANDRITZ Hydro agree on hydrogen cooperation
11:03 Broad scope of Wärtsilä solutions selected for OHT’s next-generation wind turbine installation vessel
10:57 Russian cargoes leave neighboring countries’ ports for domestic terminals
10:21 ONE launches Marine Safety and Quality Campaign 2021
10:15 New container terminal for 2,000 TEU put into operation in Novorossiysk
09:38 Nevsky Shipyard welcomes students for summer internship
09:20 Baltic Dry Index as of July 29
09:09 Crude oil market sees downward price correction after a two-day long growth

2021 July 29

18:26 GTT appoints its new Chief Financial Officer
18:06 PGNiG terminates Port Arthur LNG agreement
17:54 FESCO, RZD Logistics and Nurminen Logistics launch regular intermodal service from Asia-Pacific countries to Finland via CPV
17:36 PGNiG Group expands its fleet of gas tankers
17:16 The Hebridean Princess returns to ABP’s Port of Cardiff
16:58 Okskaya Shipyard to build five tugboats of Project NE025 for Marine Rescue Service
16:42 Ever Given arrives to the port of Rotterdam
16:34 PGNiG to purchase more LNG from Venture Global LNG
16:17 Kalmar to deliver 12 straddle carriers to long-term partner Medcenter Container Terminal in Italy
15:56 New BIMCO/ICS Seafarer Workforce Report warns of serious potential officer shortage
15:11 Railway traffic launched through the second Baikal tunnel
14:48 Rosmorport's Petropavlovsk Branch takes part in exercises on maritime search and rescue of people
13:59 The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore forms Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation
13:15 Hydrographic Company to hold auction for construction of Arc7 hydrographic ship
12:37 Baltiysk ferry meets ISM Code requirements
12:13 Sembcorp Marine bags 24 Workplace Safety and Health Awards
11:46 Ongoing travel restrictions continue to impact Tallink Grupp financial results in Q2 2021
11:08 MARAD awards vessel acquisition management contract to Crowley
10:43 Rosmorport’s tugboats assisted sailing boat Pallada mooring in Egvekinot and Provideniya ports
10:08 Thun Tankers announces the launching of product tanker Thun Empower
10:00 British Ports Association welcomes the resumption of international cruise in England
09:35 Baltic Dry Index as of July 28
09:18 SCHOTTEL to deliver a total of ten rudder propellers and two transverse thrusters to Sanmar Shipyards
09:09 Crude oil prices rise on reduction of US reserves
08:00 Verifavia shipping highlights widespread confusion over EEXI technical parameters
07:55 Drewry launches shipmanager Steering Group to power vessel opex benchmarking

2021 July 28

18:20 NOVATEK announces consolidated IFRS results for Q2 and H1 of 2021
18:01 New BIMCO/ICS Seafarer Workforce Report warns of serious potential officer shortage
17:09 PSA & ONE team up to enhance sustainability and reduce maritime environmental footprint
16:28 ECSA and ETF welcome WHO decision to prioritise seafarers’ vaccination
16:03 Rosmorrechflot supports the International Conference “Development of Icebreaking and Support Fleet”
15:42 ERMA FIRST adds world’s smallest ballast water treatment system to product range