Technically, Galicia is a more efficient ship

Smoother, quieter, less vibration and fewer emissions. Sailing to Spain on Galicia will be a pleasurable experience for all and it’s what goes on beneath decks that will make it all happen.

Arnaud le Poulichet is Technical Director for Brittany Ferries. He has followed the development of this E-Flexer class vessel since Galicia’s first steel was cut, back in 2018. “This ship has really exceeded our expectations in so many technical areas,” he said. “The captain, crew and – of course – passengers and freight drivers will be delighted by this leap forward in efficiency and comfort.”

Fleet renewal

In ship design, safety comes first. But a modern vessel should also be more efficient and more sustainable than those it replaces. It’s one of the reasons why our fleet renewal programme is so important at Brittany Ferries, especially as we plot our recovery path from the Covid-19 crisis. 

Passengers rightly expect lower emissions, society demands sustainability and companies that fail to improve are destined to fail. Galicia and two future sister ships, Salamanca and Santoña, arriving in 2022 and 2023 respectively, are leading the company’s charge. 

Design for efficiency

Particular attention has been given to Galicia’s fuel-efficient propulsion plant and its long, slender hull and bow. These fine lines make for excellent seakeeping in all weathers. And the friction-reducing silicon paint that coats the hull makes for smoother sailing, reducing fuel consumption.  Manoeuvrability is first class, partly thanks to her ability to feather propeller blades at low speeds working in combination with agile, efficient rudders. 

Like a modern airliner, Galicia has no need for four engines. Two MaK 12 M 43C units each generate up to 12,600 kW of power, while variable speed shaft generators supply the means to recover energy even at low speeds. Arnaud le Poulichet summarises the benefits in a sentence: “By using a variable speed shaft generator we save fuel and we cut CO2.”  

The ship has no need for stern thrusters. Bow thrusters work in harmony with flap rudders, of high lift type with twisted leading edges, making light work of the tightest turns in port.  And, when it comes to vibration, passengers will notice just how little there is. Her fin stabilisers meanwhile have proved effective during initial voyages through the Bay of Biscay, minimising roll, and promising to smooth even the choppiest of seas when in service.

Image 1: Propeller; Image 2: Main Engine (lower); Image 3: Pipe tunnel; Image 4: Steam heating coils

Funnel emissions

Galicia targets an improvement in air quality emissions like soot, and climate change emissions like carbon dioxide.

Her funnel is fitted with the latest closed-loop, exhaust-emission-scrubbers. These are like giant catalytic convertors, stripping particulate matter and harmful sulphur oxides (SOx) from airborne emissions. All residue collected is dried, stored on board and taken ashore for processing. 

CO2 output per passenger is also much better. Aside from her suite of technical innovations, Galicia and sister-ship Salamanca will replace Baie de Seine and Cap Finistère, less efficient vessels with much smaller passenger and freight capacities. That means a significant reduction in carbon footprint on our long-haul services between the UK and Spain

Altogether, when all are in service, the new ships will make four round trips from the UK to Spain each week, instead of five. This promises a significant fuel saving, and emissions per passenger, while still presenting a 10% improvement in passenger capacity and 28% more freight space.

Quieter and brighter

Thanks to excellent insulation and silencing, noise will be kept to a minimum. “When you are on shore, you cannot hear Galicia’s generators as you can with other ships,” Le Poulichet explained. “It’s really surprising and of course a welcome benefit for everyone living near a port. Of course, there are regulations that concern noise, but Galicia far exceeds those – and our initial expectations.” 

And what about within the passenger decks themselves? Here too, there are a host of hidden innovations. When you look up you will notice just one. Every light on board is LED. That’s a first for Brittany Ferries. Just another small win, in Galicia’s illuminating approach to sustainability.  

Green Marine - Eco-label

Brittany Ferries is proud to be one of the first companies accredited by the Green Marine eco-label, which is driving best practice in maritime sustainability. The company was audited in August and awarded its first accreditation certificate at a ceremony in Paris on 8 October 2020.  

It’s a powerful tool that scores sustainability on seven criteria, such as funnel emissions and underwater noise. Independently audited, progress can be tracked year on year pushing the company to achieve higher standards more quickly. Two further e-Flexer ships will join Galicia in the years to come, both powered by cleaner LNG, all helping Brittany Ferries achieve the best possible performance for customers and the environment. 

You can read more about our efforts to reduce our environmental impact here.