In 2015 Collectivité de Saint Pierre et Miquelon launched a tender for two new Mixt Ferries to operate between the two Islands and Fortune (Canada).
The same year the contract was awarded to the Damen Shipyards Group and, in January 2016, the Loan agreement with Rabobank was signed. The project was launched on 11 March at an event in Paris and the vessels will be delivered at the end of 2017.
In close cooperation with the client, Damen designed the Fast RoPax 5510, 55 m long, 11 m wide, with a capacity for 192 passengers and crew, 3 trucks or 18 cars, motorcycles and cargo. Collectivité de Saint Pierre et Miquelon is a new customer for Damen.The client required full redundancy for the vessels; the French islands being situated some 25 miles from Fortune. The high speed capability of the RoPax5510 ensures a crossing in a little over one hour.
A representative of the Collectivité said: “The construction of the ferries for the Collectivité has been subject to a European tendering procedure. Damen has been chosen at the final outcome for a number of reasons, including the technical capacity to meet the requirements of the Collectivité. These consist of building capacity, compliance with the specifications, understanding of the project, and capability to execute the mission. Additionally, Damen’s financial capacity makes possible the completion of such deal along with the offering of all necessary warranties. Also important were Damen’s willingness and ability to provide answers and information during the tendering process, the company’s quality certification and, of course, tendering in line with the project financing capacities.
“Since the signing of the contract and the administrative orders, we have been delighted with the choice we have made because of the warm welcome we received, and the quality of the follow up of the project.”
Reinier van Herel, Damen’s Regional Director France, comments: “This design combines a passenger ferry and a fast supply boat. The vessels have the renowned Damen Axe Bow. This first of the ‘5510 Series’ is actually based on more than 150 Axe Bow vessels — a proven design — but it has been lengthened and widened for cargo and cars. This pioneering design is a result of a very close cooperation between Damen’s Ferry and High-Speed Craft departments, as well as with the client.”
It is expected that the arrival of the ferries will make the islands much more accessible, encouraging, amongst other things, an increased level of tourism in the region. The sister vessels will be operated by Régie des Transport Maritimes. They will sail to Saint Pierre et Miquelon under their own keel from Damen Shipyards Galati in Romania.
The ferries will be customized to withstand the severe weather conditions common to the area and will be built under the regulations of Marine Marchande and registered under the French Flag State. Additionally, given the pristine environment in which the ferries will operate, it was important that emissions be minimized. The new ferries are IMO, EPA, MARPOL and Transport Canada compliant.