Engineering studies, prototype and pilot of a small LNG Ro-pax ferry in Italy


The Italian Ministry of Transport promoted the development of basic and detailed studies for three typical Mediterranean ships: one large passenger ship, one medium Ro-pax ship and one small Ro-pax ship.

The basic and detailed engineering studies of the small Ro-pax prototype concerned a new LNG powered ferry of Caronte & Tourist Lines.

More in details, the study covered the general specifications and basic and detailed design of a new dual-fuel LNG double-ended car and passenger ferry vessel. The double ended 7 decks ferry is designed to operate in EU Class D areas able to carry passengers (decks 4 and 5), private cars, trucks and trailers (decks 2 and 3) as well as dangerous goods including LNG ISO containers (aft area on deck 3). The main dimensions (LxBxT) of the ship are 133.6 x 21.5 x 4.7. The ship has a capacity of about 290 cars, 35 trailers and 1500 persons on board. Service and maximum speeds are respectively 12.5 and 15 knots. The LNG tank will have a capacity of about 150 cubic meter to enable to supply LNG as marine fuel as per vessel naval architecture capabilities and per fuel consumption needed demand. The ship is Italian flagged and RINA classed with Gas Fuelled notation (IGF compliant).

Investigations included also all those new aspects that have to be adapted, improved and fine-tuned according to the use of LNG as fuel (such as skills and training needs, maintenance, control and monitoring systems, IT platforms & computerized management systems etc.).

A typical risk analysis of the small Ro-pax ship bunkering operations in GAINN4MOS ports has been carried out, including appraisals on SIMOPS issues (simultaneous bunkering and passenger handling operations).

On the regulatory side, all the necessary studies, interpretation, guidelines and tools as needed for IMO’s IGF Code application have been assessed.

Basic engineering studies also focused on the analysis of the proper LNG bunkering system for typical small Ro-pax ships in the Mediterranean. In the start-up period, until appropriate LNG fixed refuelling infrastructures are widely spread, considering the small needed amount of LNG, the typical transfer system, performed via mobile LNG infrastructure, might consist preferably of truck-to-ship operations via LNG tank truck/ISO containers or alternatively of ship-to-ship operations via small LNG bunkering barges/ships (that could act both as floating storages and as ship-to-ship transfer systems).

After completing the engineering studies, a prototype of this small LNG Ro-pax ship is being built (newbuilding). This ship will be piloted in real life operations and jointly tested with the LNG refuelling facility from Italian ports prototyped in GAINN4CORE Action.

With the purpose of sharing the main studies results and feedbacks and to foster the LNG uptake in the Mediterranean trough the dissemination of the lessons learned from the GAINN4MOS experience, an executive summary report and dissemination material will be available in this section of the website soon.