Demand for Fred. Olsen Express’ ferry services in the Canary Islands is on the up: the operator reports that its new route between Playa Blanca in Lanzarote and Corralejo in Fuerteventura has recorded a 40% increase in passenger traffic since its introduction last year. Added to that, July 2022 saw the return of the company’s La Gomera coastal route – which links the southern villages of Valle Gran Rey, Playa Santiago and San Sebastián – after a COVID-enforced hiatus. This latter route has attracted more than 33,000 passengers since its reactivation.
Consequently, Fred. Olsen Express has ordered a new ferry from Vigo-based boatbuilder Rodman Polyships, to help handle this increased demand. The newbuild will comprise a 26m x 9.8m, GRP-fashioned catamaran with the capacity for 250 passengers, and will specialise in providing sightseeing trips for tourists. During quieter periods, though, the vessel may be made available for hydrographic research and offshore wind farm support charters.
Rodman also produced the ferry’s design, which features a depth of 3.4m to the main deck and a draught of 1.57m when fully loaded. The builder tells Ship & Boat International: “The usable area on the main deck comes to 155m2, and 140m2 on the upper deck.” In terms of tank capacities, the ferry will carry 16,000litres of fuel (spread across four tanks) as well as two 400litre-capacity fresh water and two 350litre-capacity black water tanks.
Passengers will have access to a bar-cafeteria service and onboard entertainment, Rodman adds. The ferry will be fitted with two Caterpillar C32 engines, generating a combined 2,160kW and granting the vessel a speed of 23knots at 85% MCR and 50% deadweight (or 20knots at 100% deadweight).
Rodman estimates that the ferry should be completed and ready for delivery by the start of Q2 2024, and an option exists for a second, twin vessel.