Fincantieri shipyard in Castellammare di Stabia (Naples) saw the launching today of the "F.-A.-Gauthier", the latest generation ferry that Fincantieri is building for Société des traversiers du Québec (STQ), a Québec Government Corporation that operates in maritime passenger transport. Fincantieri won the order in July 2012, beating the very top international competitors.
The ship's name, “F.-A.-Gauthier”, is in honour of Félix-Adrien Gauthier, mayor of the town of Matane (1960-1963) and founder of the Matane–Godbout ferry route.
Attending the ceremony for the shipowner were the STQ’s employees designated to represent the Owner at the yard during the construction, while Fincantieri was represented, among others, by Gabriele Cocco, Executive Senior Vice President Merchant Vessels, and Gilberto Tobaldi, the Castellammare yard manager .
"F.-A.-Gauthier", scheduled for delivery in late 2014 in Canada, represents a genuine technological revolution. It will be the first ever gas-powered ferry built in Italy and the first such vessel to operate in North America.
A genuine concentration of technology, it adopts the most advanced solutions in terms of energy saving and low environmental impact, enabling a major reduction in emissions of CO2 (carbon dioxide), NOx (nitrogen oxides) and SOx (sulphur oxides, which will actually be reduced to zero). In fact, this ship 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 gas (Liquid Natural Gas - LNG) or marine diesel oil. This propulsion system fully meets the ecological requirements of the ECA areas (Baltic Sea, North Sea, Caribbean, North America). These standards
will soon be introduced in the Mediterranean.
The ship 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. "F.-A.-Gauthier" is also able to break sea ice, thanks to its innovative bow and stern, designed and patented by Fincantieri.
The ferry’s two electric propulsion engines operate azimuth thrusters, each equipped with two Countrar-Rotating propellers, which together with transverse propellers, make the ferry exceptionally manoeuvrable. These characteristics, combined with a complex and extensive system of ramps and doors at both bow and stern, will allow the vessel to load and unload very quickly.
At 133 metres long and 22 metres wide, "F.-A.-Gauthier" will have a service speed of 20 knots and will be able to carry more than 800 passengers. The ferry 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.