The two families that own Caronte & Tourist, one of which is my own, have been operating ferries between Sicily and mainland Italy for over 50 years. We’ve always been a brave company that looks to the future and isn’t scared to try to out ideas. Our boldest project right now is building the Mediterranean’s first ever LNG-fuelled ferry.
Scheduled for delivery in 2018, it is a double-ended ferry with three dual-fuel engines. It will carry 290 cars and 1,000 passengers across the Strait of Messina and, thanks to an EU Class B certificate, possibly to the Aeolian Islands. It was designed by Norway-based LMG Marin and is currently under construction in Sefine Shipyard in Turkey.
Are we visionaries or are we idiots? I like to think that, with the help of RINA and other partners, we will overcome the challenges and pioneer the LNG-fuelled ferries of the future.
We accept that LNG ferries are currently more expensive to build, and we’re prepared for the problems that first movers inevitably face. We hope that other shipowners will support our efforts, because ultimately, we all have the same problem: we need to burn less oil, produce less pollution and lower costs. I’m tired of hearing that LNG is a chicken-and-egg situation, with no ships without infrastructure and no infrastructure without ships. Someone needs to take the first step.
My grandfather always said there are three ways to do things – the right way, the wrong way and his way. We like to do things our way, and we hope it will turn out to be the right way. I’m looking forward to finding out.