Fleet renewal steers Brittany Ferries to fourth consecutive Green Marine award

18th October 2023
  • Christophe Mathieu, CEO Brittany Ferries, Romain Benoît, Surfrider Foundation Europe, Vincent Coquen, Brittany Ferries head of sustainability - photo credit Iñaki Luis
  • LNG bunkering terminal at Bilbao
  • Brittany Ferries' LNG-powered Salamanca
  • Green Marine Europe logo

Brittany Ferries is proud to have been awarded Green Marine Certified Shipowner accreditation for the fourth year in a row. The award was made at a ceremony this week in Bilbao, one of the ports served by the company and the location of a brand-new LNG (liquefied natural gas) bunkering terminal. Opened in July 2022, the facility is already fuelling Brittany Ferries’ newest LNG-powered ships.

Brittany Ferries was one of the founding signatories of the Green Marine programme. It originally chose Green Marine because of its rigour, independence and demand for continuous improvement.

Shipping companies sign-up to eight sustainability criteria, focusing on areas including air and water quality, the protection of biodiversity and waste management. They are independently assessed each year on progress, via a scale of 1-to-5. Only those that are able to demonstrate a step up the ladder on at least one criteria continue to receive the award.

For Brittany Ferries, fleet renewal has been key to progress. It is currently in the middle of the largest investment in ship replacement in its 50-year history. Between 2019 and 2025 five new vessels will have joined the fleet, replacing older and less environmentally-friendly ships.

Four of these new vessels will be powered by cleaner liquefied natural gas (LNG) and two will be LNG-electric hybrids (arriving in spring 2025). Both hybrids will be shore-power ready, meaning zero emissions when they are able to plug-in at quay. They’ll also be equipped with 11MWh of battery power, allowing them to operate with zero emissions when alongside and during manoeuvres in port.

“We are delighted that investment in fleet renewal is delivering progress on many Green Marine criteria for Brittany Ferries and will continue to do so in the years ahead,” said Brittany Ferries head of Sustainability Vincent Coquen, who was also the driving force behind the company’s commitment to the Green Marine programme. “For example, this year we’ve been able to demonstrate a fleet-wide reduction in harmful nitrogen dioxide NOx emissions, achieving the highest level 5 for this criterion.”

Improvement on NOx is a direct result of the introduction into service of Salamanca and Santoña. These ships serve routes connecting Spain with the UK and their cleaner-burning fuel leads to a significant reduction in other air quality emissions too, such as SOx, and particulates (soot). This means that, as well as helping Brittany Ferries achieve Green Marine accreditation, the ships are contributing to better air quality for those living and working around the ports in which it operates.

“This year’s awards are particularly relevant to Brittany Ferries and the port of Bilbao,” added Vincent Coquen. “Investing in cleaner ships is one thing. But you need investment in infrastructure to be able to re-fuel them.  The port of Bilbao has embraced that challenge, facilitating the construction of a fantastic LNG facility by energy provider REPSOL with the support of European Union funding, and the benefits are being felt as a consequence. It’s a great partnership for a great city and region.”

Brittany Ferries was delighted to welcome members of the Green Marine steering board on board its ship Galicia ahead of the awards during its Tuesday call into Bilbao. Members were given a tour of the vessel including the bridge, where they were hosted by ship’s captain Patrice Gidouin.

Brittany Ferries’ Galicia was the first of the five new vessels to join the fleet, back in 2019. Like sister ships that followed, she benefits from improved hydrodynamic performance thanks to a longer, sleeker hull that is less resistant when travelling through water. This summer captain and crew have hosted scientists from whale and dolphin charity ORCA on board the bridge, supporting an environmental partnership that with Brittany Ferries that has spanned more than 20 years.

Of course, Brittany Ferries is not just focusing on emissions reduction on its voyage to a more sustainable future. For example, next year it hopes to demonstrate an improvement in oily water management, making the step up from 2 to 3 on the Green Marine ladder. Challenging it may be, but Vincent Coquen and the entire technical team are determined to make it five years in a row when the next round of awards is made in 2024.


About Brittany Ferries
Brittany Ferries was conceived in 1972, starting life as a freight-only service on 2nd January the following year. The first ferry (Kerisnel) linked Roscoff in Brittany with Plymouth in the South of England and carried a cargo of  cauliflowers and cognac. Since then the company has progressively launched, then strengthened its shipping routes. This year, Brittany Ferries celebrates 50 years at sea. Millions of passengers and businesses transporting goods by sea across the so-called Atlantic Arc (France, UK, Spain and Ireland) rely on the links forged over the decades. In addition to cutting congestion and emissions on busy roads, these motorways-of the sea have helped enrich local communities, creating jobs,  nurturing international tourism.
More details here: https://corporate.brittany-ferries.com/en/press.aspx

About Green Marine Europe
Green Marine Europe is a voluntary certification program for the European maritime industry adapted from the Green Marine program in North America. Green Marine Europe offers a detailed framework for maritime enterprises to measure their environmental footprint and then reduce it. Participants must demonstrate continual and measurable improvement, year after year, to maintain their certification. The environmental certification program addresses priority environmental issues related to air and water quality, the protection of biodiversity, and waste management. The program is now comprised of 11 distinct performance indicators, relating to ship owners and to shipyards.

Press contacts – Brittany Ferries:
Nigel Wonnacott  [email protected]
Christopher Jones  [email protected]

Press contact – Green Marine
Antidia Citores  Project Manager, Green Marine Europe [email protected]