Brittany Ferries entered the final phase of its £60 million project to install scrubbers on six cruise-ferries in its fleet in April 2016. These exhaust systems, which were installed during an 18-month period, strip sulphur from funnel emissions and permit the ongoing use of the cheaper marine grade heavy fuel oil. Brittany Ferries’ 40,859gt/2004 built flagship Pont Aven (above) was the last of the six vessels to return to service following the installation of the new scrubber system, which she did at the end of March after modifications at Gdansk, Poland.
The new scrubbers aboard the 2,400-passenger ferry will be fine-tuned over the next few weeks and then put into full use. Sadly the new full width funnel structure atop the ship is an abomination and completely ruins the lines of one of the finest looking cruiseferries. The project was launched in 2014, beginning with the Normandie (ruining her appearance) and the Barfleur (her lines were almost unaffected). The Cap Finistere followed (with only moderate changes to her funnel profile) and then the Mont St. Michel which gained a huge and fairly unsightly scrubber structure between her two funnels.
The last two to be dealt with were the Armorique (giving her a slightly larger funnel profile) and the Pont Aven. The investment in the latter two ships amounted to £30 million with most of the vessels being converted in Santander. The Bretagne escaped disfigurement as she has not been converted. The entire project, and ruination of some ships (not just in the Brittany Ferries fleet) is all the result of the international Maritime organization’s (IMO) stringent sulphur oxide emissions regulations, which propose a reduction of the maximum sulphur emission for all seafaring vessels by 90% in the Emission Control area (ECA), that came into effect from the beginning of 2015. The IMO also approved maximum permissible sulphur content outside of ECAs from 3.5% to 0.5% by 2020.
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