Norwegian shipping company Norled has placed an order with Sembcorp Marine for the design and construction of three identical hybrid plug-in roll-on / roll-off (RoPax) passenger ferries.

Sembcorp Marine subsidiary LMG Marin will design the vessels, which will be specially tailored to cover Norled’s shortsea Hella-Vangsnes-Dragsvik route in Norway.

Sembcorp Marine Specialised Shipbuilding head Tan Heng Jack said: “Sembcorp Marine’s project with Norled marks our entry into the RoPax ferry design and construction segment.

“It also demonstrates our ambition to be a leading provider of renewable energy-driven solutions.

Each of the new 84.2m-long multi-deck, double-ended vessels will be able to accommodate up to 300 passengers and crew members. It will be able to carry 80 cars or a combination of ten cars and ten trailer trucks.

The vessels will feature quick-connection shore-charging plugs, auto-mooring, auto-cross, efficient hull, propulsion and heat recovery systems. They will also include minimised hotel and auxiliary loads solutions for energy-efficient operations.

The vessels will be able to conduct zero-emission operations using lithium-ion batteries at a service speed of 10k. The ferries can use combined battery-diesel hybrid backup modes to operate, if required.

“We were particularly happy to share with this partner a common understanding of Norled’s ambition to build innovative new vessels equipped with zero-emissions technology.”

Deliveries of the ferries are scheduled to take place in the last quarter of 2020.

Norled chief technology officer Sigvald Breivik said: “Ship design, passenger comfort, and working conditions for personnel were key considerations when we awarded the project to Sembcorp Marine.

“We were particularly happy to share with this partner a common understanding of Norled’s ambition to build innovative new vessels equipped with zero-emissions technology, as part of our focus on reducing emissions.”

In 2015, Norled launched the world’s first all-electric car ferry, MF Ampere, which currently runs between Lavik and Oppedal in Norway.