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Home News Baleària incorporates the world’s second ‘fast ferry’ with dual gas engines on the Barcelona-Mallorca-Menorca route

Baleària incorporates the world’s second ‘fast ferry’ with dual gas engines on the Barcelona-Mallorca-Menorca route

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The “Margarita Salas”
  • The ‘Margarita Salas’ will operate daily throughout the year on the 3.5-hour crossing between the Spanish mainland and the Balearic Islands
  • The catamaran increases the seats available on the high-speed service by 50% while reducing the carbon footprint on the route thanks to being gas powered
  • The shipping company has invested 126 million euros in the construction of the vessel which can hold 1,200 passengers and 425 vehicles

Today, Baleària is adding the world’s second fast ferry with dual gas engines, the Margarita Salas, to the Barcelona-Alcúdia-Ciutadella route. More than 450 people will become the first passengers to travel at 4:30 p.m. from Barcelona on this new vessel, pioneering in terms of innovation and sustainability, which also offers speed and comfort on the maritime connections between Mallorca, Menorca and the Catalan capital.

The incorporation of this catamaran, which can carry 1,200 passengers and 425 vehicles, allows Baleària to increase its high-speed seats on the Barcelona-Alcúdia-Ciutadella route by 50% and double the number of vehicles on the route, while reducing its carbon footprint, as natural gas reduces both C02 and nitrogen oxide emissions and completely eliminates sulphur and particulates. Baleària has invested 126 million euros in this vessel

“More than 20 years ago we arrived in Barcelona with the aim of providing a high-speed connection between the city and Mallorca and Menorca. Now, with this innovative fast ferry we are increasing our competitiveness, as we can transport more passengers, in greater comfort and with more services, all year round and with much lower atmospheric emissions thanks to our commitment to cleaner fuels”, declared the president of Baleària, Adolfo Utor.

Utor noted that the new catamaran is the shipping company’s eleventh to be equipped with dual gas engines, a versatile technology that allows it to sail using a range of fuels, such as natural gas, at present, and renewable carbon-neutral sources in the future. “This innovative fleet allows us to use the fuel that is currently available and reduces emissions, while at the same time placing us in a leading position in terms of the goal of decarbonisation by 2050”, Utor remarked.

Another picture of the “Margarita Salas”

The shipping company calculates that the Margarita Salas will avoid the emission of almost 13,000 tonnes of CO2 each year, 22% less than the fast ferry that has been operating on the route to date. On top of this, as the new ship has a larger passenger capacity, the tonnes of carbon dioxide per passenger will be halved.

Starting this afternoon, the new fast ferry will connect Barcelona with Alcúdia and Ciutadella on a daily basis all year round. Three days a week it will call first at Mallorca and then at Menorca, and the other four days it will call first at the Menorcan port before continuing on to Alcúdia. The direct trips last three and a half hours.

On-board services

The fast ferry has two passenger decks, with spacious, bright and comfortable interior spaces, with a range of accommodation (standard, premium and private lounges). Passengers can enjoy a large outdoor terrace and services including a cafe, shop, children’s area with interactive digital games, internet access and free instant messaging cover throughout the crossing, online boarding cards with seat assignment, a free digital entertainment platform and a climate-controlled pet area with video surveillance.

As for the ship’s technical characteristics, it is 123 metres long and 28 metres wide, and has four dual natural gas engines, which allow it to reach a cruising speed of 35 knots (10% more power than the first ship in the series). The ship is equipped with two liquefied natural gas tanks, enabling it to sail 400 miles on gas and have a total range of 1,000 miles.

In addition, the Margarita Salas has a stabilisation system to reduce movement and improve comfort, as well as an elastically floating superstructure and high-tech insulation to minimise vibrations and noise. It also has an OPS (Onshore Power Supply) system to connect it to the shore-based electricity supply during its stays in port, and measuring equipment to monitor real fuel consumption and calculate engine efficiency, among other functions. These sensors provide real-time information to enable efficient sailing, and to adjust the speed and course to increase comfort according to the sea conditions.

It should be mentioned that the name of the vessel is a tribute to the biochemist Margarita Salas, a benchmark in Spanish science in the field of molecular biology research, with an extensive body of scientific publications.

Leading international experts (Wärstilä, Incat Crowther, Bureau Veritas and Marintek-Sintef) and national partners (Cotenaval, Oliver Design and Jorge Belloch) were involved in the construction of this groundbreakingly sustainable catamaran, which received funding from CaixaBank and European Union Next Generation Funds, as part of the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism (RRM).

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