VESSEL REVIEW | Côte D’Opale – New 215m Ro-Pax for DFDS’ Dover-Calais route
Danish passenger and freight shipping company DFDS recently took delivery of a new all-steel Ro-Pax ferry built by China Merchants Jinling Shipyard Weihai.
Named Cote d’Opale after a coastal region in northern France, the French-flagged newbuild is one of five Deltamarin-designed E-Flexer-class ferries ordered by Swedish owner Stena RoRo from the same shipyard. It will be operated on the English Channel, and DFDS has claimed it is the longest ferry sailing in those waters.
The new ferry has a length of 215.9 metres, a beam of 27.8 metres, a draught of 6.6 metres, space for 930 passengers and 70 crew, and capacity for 120 cars plus another 3,100 lane metres of freight that can accommodate up to 160 trailers.
The bow and the stern are especially designed to fit the quayside facilities in the ports of Dover and Calais. The ferry is also equipped with a third bow thruster to facilitate the many daily manoeuvres in either port. The two main engines meanwhile can propel the ferry to speeds of up to 22 knots and are equipped with features that help reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions while maintaining the same sailing speeds. An active stabilisation system ensures smoother crossings of the channel even as the sea gets rough.
Having been designed from the outset as a day ferry, Cote d’Opale features extra large passenger spaces in place of cabins to allow for social distancing and to provide passengers with enough room for relaxation and recreation. DFDS CEO Torben Carlsen has stated the E-Flexer’s design has made it possible to better adapt the new ferry to the requirements associated with the shorter crossings across the channel. Specifically, both cargo and passengers are effectively accommodated while still ensuring satisfactory levels of comfort and amenities for all on board.
The amenities include a large selection of duty-free shops that cover over 1,100 square metres of interior space. There are separate “wings” for each product category on offer, including perfume and cosmetics, wine and spirits, and electronics. DFDS said Cote d’Opale is one of the first vessels in its fleet to resume the availability of onboard duty-free shopping across the English Channel.
The ferry also has a premium lounge and three dining areas including a restaurant and a cafe for leisure travelers. Commercial drivers have their own dedicated area in a separate lounge and restaurant, with showers and rest areas specially designed for drivers. A children’s play area is available as well.
The top deck also features a helicopter pad for conducting at-sea personnel transfers.
Cote d’Opale was delivered in June of this year and has already begun operating on DFDS Seaways’ Dover-Calais service, replacing the 1991-built Calais Seaways. The newer ferry also boasts greater carrying capacity and improved performance, being capable of sailing at the same speeds on only two engines instead of four as on its predecessor.
Cote d’Opale will be operated on charter with Stena RoRo for an initial ten years with an option for DFDS to purchase it afterwards.
|Type of vessel:||Ro-Pax ferry|
|Owner:||Stena RoRo, Sweden|
|Builder:||China Merchants Jinling Shipyard Weihai|
|Hull construction material:||Steel|
|Superstructure construction material:||Steel|
|Deck construction material:||Steel|
|Length overall:||215.9 metres|
|Capacity:||120 cars and 3,100 freight lane metres|
|Maximum speed:||22 knots|
|Other equipment installed:||Active stabilisation system; helicopter pad|
|Type of fuel:||Diesel|
|Accommodation:||Duty-free shops; lounges; restaurants; children’s play area|