Lloyd’s Register (LR) has awarded Approval in Principle (AiP) to the Estonian State Fleet for a hydrogen fuel-cell ferry designed by Finnish ship design and engineering company Deltamarin.

The zero emissions ferry is to be operated between the Estonian mainland and the islands of Saaremaa and Hiiumaa, on the Virtsu-Kuivastu and Rohuküla-Heltermaa routes, which connect the Baltic nation to its two largest islands.

 As part of the certification, LR approved the current stage of the design process to be suitable for further design, construction and procurement of the ropax ferry. The thorough AiP process was conducted by LR experts and led by its Hamburg Technical Support Office.  

LR Key Account Manager Patrick Wrede said:
“LR is pleased to have acted as a trusted adviser on this project with Estonian State Fleet to provide the Estonian government with a new battery-hydrogen fuelled ferry for the Virtsu-Kuivastu and Rohuküla-Heltermaa routes. Not only will this ferry help to progress the transition towards low and zero carbon vessels, but it will also provide improved connectivity between Estonian and it’s largest islands.”  

Esa Jokioinen, Sales Director at Deltamarin said:  
“We would like to sincerely thank all parties that have been involved and supported the development of this state-of-the-art ferry design. It is a result of very extensive and thorough research of requirements of end users, where particular attention has been paid on safety, efficiency and environmental matters. The vessels will provide new level of connectivity for the people travelling to the islands, and are able to deliver this service at exceptionally small environmental footprint.”

Andres Laasma, the Director General of the Estonian State Fleet said:
“The Estonian State Fleet is committed to leading the way in innovation within its sector. To achieve this, we have undertaken a project to develop a passenger ship with a remarkably high level of autonomy. Despite the challenges involved in this complex endeavour, including regulatory hurdles, technological risks, and significant initial investments, the potential benefits are considerable. These benefits include cost savings, market leadership, innovation, and a positive impact on the environment. The Estonian State Fleet is confident that this strategic advantage will propel us to the top of our industry, setting the standard for others to follow.”

Valentin Bratkov Project Manager at the Estonian State Fleet said: “Received AiP from leading experts Is very valuable proof that our environmental and energy efficient ferry with innovative hydrogen fuel-cell battery propulsion have no showstoppers for further construction. Lloyd's Register's expertise ensures that the pioneering work we are doing is professional and competent.”