The works to convert the engines of the Sicilia ferry to natural gas, which are being carried out in the West Sea shipyards (Viana do Castelo, Portugal), continue at a good pace despite the situation caused by the Covid-19. During the last weeks the works have been maintained and, in fact, in the last days the fuel storage tank has been installed.
The conversion to LNG of the Sicilia is practically the same as that made previously on its sister ship, Nápoles. It consists of installing a tank inside (not outside as it happens with other ships) with the capacity to store 425 cubic meters of fuel and adapting its two MAN9L48/60 engines to the 9L51/60DF version. The tank capacity will allow the ship to have a range of about 1,100 nautical miles.
With the transformation of its engines, which is scheduled to finish in late July, this ferry will be Baleària’s sixth vessel to sail with natural gas. It thus joins the recently retrofitted Bahama Mama and the other ships whose engines have been adapted: the Nápoles and the Abel Matutes. In addition, it should be remembered that the shipping company has, since 2019, two new-built twin LNG-powered ships: the Hypatia de Alexandria and the Marie Curie. The company is expected to have up to 11 ships running on this fuel by 2021.
Like the other ships that have already been converted, various technological improvements will be made in the Sicilia to make it a smart ship. With 186 meters long, the ferry has a capacity for 1,000 passengers and 480 vehicles.