The LNG-fuelled hybrid Aurora Botnia, under construction at the Finnish yard Rauma Marine Construction, will operate on the Vaasa to Umeå route when it enters service in spring 2021.
The new car and passenger ferry has been ordered by Kvarken Link, a company owned by the city of Vaasa and the municipality of Umeå (Umeå Kommunföretag AB). The vessel, which will accommodate 800 passengers and have a freight capacity of 1,500 lane metres for cargo, will replace the Wasa Express.
The construction of the ship, at a cost of around €120 million, began last September 2019 and its launch is slated for autumn this year.
The new ferry will be the first RoPax ferry to have a Clean Design class notation. The vessel will have a hybrid power generation system, as well as an electric propulsion system.
The four main Wärtsilä engines will be able to run on both LNG and liquefied biogas. The ferry can source biogas from a plant in Vaasa, which produces gas from recycled materials. When the ferry is approaching or leaving harbour it can operate on electrical power from a large battery pack.
“RMC wants to be a forerunner in producing holistic solutions with cutting-edge technology. The Clean Design class notation is one example of this. Moreover, we have partnered with Aalto University and agreed on joint research and development efforts, commented Jyrki Heinimaa, President and CEO of Rauma Marine Constructions.
Peter Ståhlberg, Managing Director of Wasaline, added: ‘I’m very proud that we have reached this milestone. Laying the keel is an event that we have been looking forward to for some time. Now, we can see years of planning become a reality.
‘This vessel is the most environmentally friendly large RoPax ferry in the world, its degree of domestic origin is more than 80%, and it employs the most cutting-edge, environmentally friendly technology.’