A contract for a ferry for Polska Żegluga Bałtycka (Polferries) has been signed, deputy infrastructure minister Marek Gróbarczyk announced in Kołobrzeg on Thursday. The unit in question is to “fill an investment gap” until new ferries are built.
Polska Żegluga Bałtycka (Polferries) received funding of PLN 140 million from the state budget to, as communicated at the beginning of the year, “fill the investment gap in the replenishment of tonnage in 2023 until the entry into service of new vessels”.
– The contract has been signed. In this way, the new ferry has been secured for the shipowner (…) This is to secure the interests of the Polish Steamship Company within the framework of its operation on the Baltic lines, and above all to increase its competitive capabilities, because for us the basic thing is that precisely the Polish Baltic Shipping Company, as the second largest Polish shipowner, should implement the programme of renewing its fleet and thus strengthening itself on the Baltic Sea,” Marek Gróbarczyk, secretary of state in the Ministry of Infrastructure, said on Thursday during a press conference in Kołobrzeg (Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeship).
He added that the Świnoujście-Ystad or Gdańsk-Nynashamn lines are crucial “as part of our dominance and above all our competitiveness in the Baltic Sea”. He assured that “maximum efforts” would be made to strengthen Polish shipowners.
The deputy minister also added that the ferry building programme for PŻM and PŻB is proceeding according to plan.
PŻB president Andrzej Madejski conveyed that an agreement with the shipowner has been signed for the chartering of a vessel with a buy-back option. The vessel is to be 216m long, 28m wide and has over 3km of cargo line. The ferry will be able to carry 1,000 people in 230 cabins.
– In addition, the vessel will be powered by conventional propulsion (…) And the most important news – it will be adapted for dual fuel propulsion, with gas fuel, Madejski said.
He added that the ferry is expected to be delivered to PŻB in the second half of 2024.
– The vessel will still need to be retrofitted with a gas installation, which will already fully meet the technical requirements for gaseous fuel propulsion, he pointed out.
Asked about the costs, he replied that these were classified data. The contract has been signed with an Italian shipowner, the vessel is being built at the Visentini shipyard. He added that the ferry will operate on the Świnoujście-Ystad line.
– The negotiations took quite a long time, because by taking the decision that we would charter this ferry we also obtained the possibility of technical negotiations, so it will be adapted to our needs, said Madejski.
He added that the ferry is chartered for 10 years, it will be possible to buy it back after six years.