The seventh of Corsica Linea is on service towards North Africa
The Vizzavona, former Grimaldi’s Finneagle and Euroferry Corfu, is operating on the new weekly line to the Algerian port of Bejaïa for the French regional ferry operator
After entering into service – upon a quick refit at Chantier Naval de Marseille - with its new red colours of Corsica Linea in early June, the long term chartered in ro-pax Vizzavona (30,114 GT) has inaugurated a new weekly ferry line to the Algerian port of Bejaïa, located som 200km east of the capital city of Algeri, that connects France (Marseille) to Italy (Sardinia) and Tunisia as well.
The French company had agreed to charter Grimaldi Lines' ro-pax Euroferry Corfu, previously known as the 1999-built (in Spain, at Astilleros Españoles of Puerto Real) Finneagle, in service for Grimaldi’s fully owned Finnish subsidiary Finnlines ; the Euroferry Corfu served Grimaldi Lines' Brindisi-Igoumenitsa route, supplementing Hansa Class Euroferry Olympia and Euroferry Egnazia.
The Vizzavona, able to carry 2,500 meters of rolling cargo, 130 cars and 800 passengers in its 192 cabins, is the seventh vessel in service for Corsica Linea, the company born in 2016 by inheriting the activity of Maritima Ferries (MCM), set up by Corsica-born entrepreneur Patrick Rocca, in turn successor in 2015 to bankrupt former state owned company SNCM. The rest of the French fleet is made of Danielle Casanova, Pascal Paoli, Jean Nicoli, Paglia Orba, Monte d’Oro and Méditerranée.
In October 2017 inline scrubbers were installed at Remontowa shipyard in Poland, to anticipate the international regulation MARPOL which will impose a reduction of sulphur emissions from 3.5% to 0.5% as from January 1st 2020 in the Mediterranean.
The ferry, that is registered in Palermo, Italy, thus represents the turning point towards the energy transition for Corsica Linéa, by integrating scrubbers smoke washing system; to advance in these steps it makes the choice of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), based on the results of the propulsion mode (reduction of CO2 emissions by 25%, virtual absence of sulphur and nitrogen oxides, as well as fine particles).
On the quay, Corsica Linea chose the electrical connection (CENAQ) for Pascal Paoli, Paglia Orba and Jean Nicoli; this technology will be available on Marseille's Grand Port Maritime in 2019, and the company is working with the local Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CCI) to develop it in the Corsican ports.
The first call of the Vizzavona in Algeria on 20th June coincided with opening of a new ferry termina in Bejaïa, built by the local authorities with the aim to attract more ro-pax ferry services.
By its side, Corsica Linea can simply say that “this is a line that we're already operating during the summer 2017 ; we are now reproducing the same operation than last year, over the same period”, a spokesperson told Ship2Shore.
In 2017 the Corsican regional maritime company transported 568,000 passengers and over 1,100,000 linear freight meters on 78,500 trailers, providing at least one daily departure to the French mainland and serving 4 island ports (Ajaccio, Bastia, Île-Rousse and Porto-Vecchio), as well as Algeria and Tunisia and Sardinia during summer.
Already 200,000 passengers have been counted on the Maghreb routes, with the new extra vessel, the company wants to grab the opportunity to increase this number.
According to local press, in the recent past Corsica Linea approached La Meridionale, with an offer to merge the two companies, although CEO Francis Lemor of La Meridionale's (owned by Groupe STEF) replied that the shipping company is not for sale.