Germanies first LNG-Ferry MS “Helgoland”


Winner for the category Mobility

General information:

Island (Region, Province, Country):


Budget / cost of the project:

Project objectives:
Secure the mainland-ferry connection in a suistainable and eco-friendly way.

Project description of activities and specific interventions:

Within the islands energy masterplan, the Municipiality of Helgoland issued a tender for a ferry service contract in 2012. The key goal was, that based on the offered contract a new ship  had to be built with leading technolgy and operate on lowest emission fuel possible. The winner of the Tender, Reederei Cassen Eils, than built the new Ferry MS Helgoland. It was the first German flagged marine vessel to operate with liquefied natural gas (LNG) as its primary fuel. MS Helgoland started commercial operations in 2015, sailing between the ports of Cuxhaven and Helgoland. Today, MS Helgoland is among the carriers the most valuable Ferry transporting freight and passengers. Furthermore it triggered further ship buildings an ferry connections between Helgoland and the mainland. In 2016 the increase in Passenger had risen by 19% plus.

Public outreach, education and awareness efforts and results:

This transportation project was a keystone in the islands masterplan to reduce emissions an inspire tourists for an ecofriendly vacation and living. Over 100.000 passengers have experienced this modern and ecofriendly way of transportation in 2016 and 2017. Right from the beginning, Reederei Cassen Eils  was rewarded by passengers above target. The maritime economy profitet from the technology change by winning further contracts for building ecofriendly vessels. The subsidy provided by Helgoland amounts to just 150,000 € per year over a 15 year period. In 2016 the Alfred-Wegener-Institute and Reederei Cassen Eils started a partnership to “generate reliable data on a large number of parameters including temperature, salinity, inorganic nutrients and fluorescens by insatlling a ferrybox in the vessel. That data are not only being used by researchers from Helgoland, but are also archived online and feed into the COSYNA data portal (COSYNA= Coastal Observing System for Northern and Arctic Seas) and can be shown to tourists travelling or visiting the Research facilities on Helgoland.

Economic value added and how calculated/Ecological and social project outcomes:

The value is enormous. The passengers travelled to the island had fallen from 700.000 per year in the 80ies, under 300.000 in 2011. Vessels sailing to the island have been older than 40 Years. Offshore conditions made the yourney to the island to a lottery. The new ferry connection boosted the increase in 2016 over 350.000 travellers again. After 15 Years in service the FRS Halunderjet catamaran will be replaced by a new built fast ferry catamaran in April 2018. The 2012 goal was to reach again 400.000 island guests by 2020. The is a increase by 25% in touristic value by cutting emissions more than in half. The value estimated are a plus of approx 11,5 M€ / year. The calcualtion is based on the buying value per day of day-tourists and vacation tourists.