At the town of Matane on the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River in Québec, the MV-F.-A. Gauthier, with hundreds of passengers on board, has been commissioned to service the sea link between Matane and Baie-Comeau, replacing NM Camille-Marcoux. Constituting the largest vessel of the Société des traversiers du Québec fleet, this ferry is the first ferry to run on liquefied natural gas (LNG) in North America.
MV-F.-A. Gauthier provides a boarding capacity of 180 vehicles and 800 passengers, is 133.3 m long and can reach about 20 knots boat speed powered by Wartsila 12V34DF (dual-fuel) engines. Crossings will be of approximately the same duration as its predecessor but with major differences in environmental impact. According to gas supplier Gaz Métro, LNG makes it possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 25%, compared with marine diesel, in addition to almost completely eliminating fine particle emissions and other air pollutants. LNG motors are also quieter and produce less vibration, which is more respectful of marine life.
The Minister for Transport and Implementation of Maritime Strategy, Jean D’Amour, welcomed with enthusiasm the official start of the activities of the new vessel, “The commissioning of the NM-F.-A. Gauthier, first ferry powered by liquefied natural gas in North America, is an innovative initiative inserting perfectly in our government’s commitment to sustainably develop our maritime potential. I see a future bearer today for this impressive ship, whose input function is performed only days after the official unveiling of the Maritime Strategy.”
The Matane-Baie-Comeau-Godbout offers daily crossings to the year allow the transport of more than 180,000 passengers and 85,000 vehicles. Contributing to the social, economic and tourism in Gaspésie and Côte-Nord in any season, this ferry service between Matane-Baie-Comeau-Godbout and Matane offers a respite from the road to its extensive client base, with nearly 900 km by land, between these destinations on either side of the shore.The ferry will service the Matane-Godbout link from mid-October, the time that infrastructure work to adapt the Godbout River station is completed.
Gaz Métro points out the ferry is also the first ship of any kind to run on LNG in Canada. LNG motors are a proven technology widely used for many years in road and maritime transport worldwide, particularly in Europe. “It’s extraordinary that this major first is happening here in Québec, and Gaz Métro is very proud to be a part of it,” highlighted Martin Imbleau, Vice President, Development and Renewable Energies at Gaz Métro. “In support of Québec’s Maritime Strategy, LNG is a concrete solution for fighting climate change and allows local shipowners to comply with the increasingly stringent standards regarding polluting emissions on North America’s waterways.”
Following an agreement concluded in 2013, Gaz Métro, through its subsidiary Gaz Métro LNG L.P., was chosen as the LNG supplier to fuel three new Société des traversiers du Québec ferries, including the NM F.-A.-Gauthier.
(Sources: Société des traversiers du Québec and Gaz Métro)