Double-ended hybrid passenger vessel to offer services between UK and France

The balcony of a room on Nordic style CM-Viking cruise ship in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, in August. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

Guangzhou Shipyard International Co Ltd, a unit of State-owned China State Shipbuilding Corp, said on Tuesday that it has completed building work for the double-ended roll-on roll-off hybrid passenger ship for buyer P&O Ferries in the United Kingdom.

The deluxe cruise ship will leave Guangzhou for Europe within the week, the shipbuilder said.

The ship is purely homemade, from the ship design and manufacturing of various parts to equipment installation.

Zhou Xuhui, vice-president of State-owned shipbuilder GSI

Apart from traditional fossil fuels, the hybrid ship will be powered by large-capacity batteries, and mainly sail between the Port of Dover in the UK and the Port of Calais in France.

The ro-ro passenger ships built by GSI have reached customers in many nations and are seen on waters including the Mediterranean Sea, Baltic Sea, South China Sea and Bohai Bay, said Chen Zhongqian, chairman of the Shanghai-listed company.

"And now, the ships we built will soon sail across the English Channel," Chen said at a ceremony held in his shipyard in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, on Tuesday.

"As a major ro-ro passenger shipbuilder in China, we have seen sound performance in both ship delivery and shipbuilding orders," Chen said.

The hybrid cruise ship built by GSI, which is designed to be both cost-effective and environmentally friendly, will provide its passengers with a full sense of the future and technology, he said.

"The ship is the first fruitful result of the cooperation and joint development between China and the UK in the field of passenger ferries and helps lay a solid foundation for further expansion of ties between the two time-honored companies," Chen added.

Ross Barrett, a director of P&O Ferries, said he was happy to see the "great ship" soon set sail for its destinations and start operating in the English Channel.

The ship does not need to turn around when entering and leaving ports, as the ship includes two pilothouses at both the bow and the stern, with the same operating equipment. The crews can navigate the ship using both pilothouses.

A total of 1,160 large-scale batteries are set up in four rooms on board, and the capacity of the batteries reaches 8.8 megawatt-hours.

Equipped with entertainment and dining venues such as bars, restaurants and gyms, the ship is 230.5 meters long and 30.8 meters wide, and can hold 1,500 passengers and more than 700 vehicles.

The ship has a service speed of up to 20.8 knots, equivalent to more than 38.5 kilometers per hour.

"The ship is purely homemade, from the ship design and manufacturing of various parts to equipment installation," said Zhou Xuhui, vice-president and senior engineer of GSI.

GSI will deliver the other such ship to P&O Ferries in June, Zhou said.

Zhou said the construction of the "advanced luxury ship" is a milestone for GSI and the domestic shipbuilding industry, and that "the high-standard and environmentally friendly vessel demonstrates China's shipbuilding strength and technologies".