Last Saturday the Fincantieri shipyard launched in Castellammare di Stabia the “F.-A.-Gauthier”, the latest generation ferry the company is building for Société des traversiers du Québec (STQ). Scheduled for delivery in late 2014 in Canada, the ship is the first ever gas-powered ferry built in Italy and the first such vessel to operate in North America. Its name is in honor of Félix-Adrien Gauthier, mayor of the town of Matane (1960-1963) and founder of the Matane–Godbout ferry route.
The ferry offers advanced solutions in terms of energy saving and low environmental impact, enabling a major reduction in emissions of CO2, NOx and SOx (which will actually be reduced to zero). It is equipped with a unique integrated diesel electric propulsion system, like on modern cruise ships, but the four diesel power generators are dual fuel and can run on either LNG or marine diesel oil. This system fully meets the ecological requirements of the ECA areas (Baltic Sea, North Sea, Caribbean and North America).
Moreover, the “F.-A.-Gauthier” is certified in the highest class designated by international registries for this type of service and is also in ice class 1 A and propulsion class 1 AS, the highest levels awarded by these classification registries, allowing it to operate in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, known for its adverse weather conditions. It is also able to break sea ice, thanks to its innovative bow and stern, designed and patented by Fincantieri.
At 133 meters long and 22 meters wide, the ship will have a service speed of 20 knots and will be able to carry more than 800 passengers. It will be used in the Province of Québec for multiple services on the Matane–Baie-Comeau–Godbout route, which, with 1,600 sailings a year, provides transport for more than 205,000 passengers and over 118,000 vehicles.