Spanish ferry operator Baleària Eurolineas Maritimas has decided to convert two of its RoPax ferries to liquefied natural gas (LNG) operation. 

The conversion of two sister ships to dual-fuel operation is said to be the first of its kind in this shipping segment.

The company has inked a contract with MAN PrimeServ, part of MAN Energy Solutions, to carry out the works.

The vessels, Nápoles and Sicilia, are currently each powered by 2 × MAN 9L48/60A main engines, which will all be converted to 9L51/60DF units that will enable running on LNG.

“We showed – with the conversion of Wessels Reederei’s ‘Wes Amelie’ containership – that operational MAN engines can successfully be converted to LNG operation with a tremendous effect on exhaust emissions and the environment. We are very happy that Baleària has seen fit to bring these benefits to a new segment and application and look forward to the conversion procedure,” Thomas Spindler, Head of Upgrades & Retrofits, PrimeServ Four-Stroke, MAN Energy Solutions, said.

Ettore Morace, Director General of Operations at Baleària, said that the company’s commitment to the environment “is a strategic line for the company based on the use of liquefied natural gas and other clean energies as well as fleet eco-efficiency.”

Earlier this year, Baleària revealed plans to retrofit five of its ferries to run on LNG. Apart from Nápoles and Sicilia, the company will also convert Abel Matutes, Bahama Mama and Martín i Soler.

The conversion of the Nápoles is due to take place in Spain between November 2018 and January 2019, and of the Sicilia from October to December 2019. The Sicilia operates on the Barcelona – Ibiza route, while the Nápoles serves currently the Algeciras – Tanger Med route.

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