The EU’s TEN-T Programme is co-financing with over €4 million the construction of an LNG propulsion system for a combined passenger and freight ferry in Germany. The ferry, between the port of Cuxhaven and the island of Helgoland, will serve as a pilot for a new generation of green ships, which aim to cut down on air pollution over the sea. A LNG bunkering station is also part of the project. European Regulations require the shipping sector to reduce marine sulphur emissions in the North Sea to 0.1 percent as of January 2015. One of the ways for the sector to reach this goal is to use cleaner fuels, such as LNG. This project will work towards reducing sulphur emissions from ships through the use of LNG and to relieve traffic by combining passenger and freight transport on the same vessel.
The development covers the concept and design, implementation and installation of the LNG-propulsion system and its required components, as well as a pilot study on implementation resulting in recommendations on best practice. It will also draft the legal basis for LNG propulsion vessels to operate in the harbour in order to allow safe refuelling and loading/unloading of freight.
The ferry aims for a faster passenger and freight transport connection between Helgoland and the German mainland than the current ferries using conventional fuel. With its reduced emissions, it will also contribute to protecting the North Sea, which has been declared an ECA area and, more specifically, the nearby Wadden Sea nature reserve. It will also safeguard the island as an attractive location for both permanent residents and seasonal visitors.