Aker Yards and P&O Ferries have signed a contract for building two large car-passenger ferries for the Dover-Calais service. The total contract price for both vessels is approximately EUR 360 million. The vessels are scheduled for delivery in 2010 and 2011 respectively.

The contract includes options on a further two vessels of the same design.

The vessels will be built in Aker Yards, Rauma, creating some 1,800 manyears of work.

Becoming the largest ferry in the English Channel means a 49,000 GT vessel with the length of 210 metres and having 2,700 lane metres of vehicle space.

There will be space for more than 180 freight vehicles and additionally for up to 195 tourist vehicles. The vessels will be capable of carrying up to 2,000 passengers.

The ferries will be as environmentally friendly as possible, offering significant advances in fuel efficiency through a hydro-dynamically efficient hull form that will optimise vessel performance with minimum fuel consumption.

"The common requirement for Aker Yards' newbuildings is both environmental and energy efficiency", says Juha Heikinheimo, President of Aker Yards, Cruise & Ferries. "These new large ferries represent both, incorporating the latest environmental tehcnology", he continues.

Aker Yards, Cruise & Ferries, consisting of three yards in Finland and two in France, has today a total of 15 vessels in the orderbook.

As one of the world's two largest cruise ship builders and the leading ferry builder, the company has for years set new standards in vessel design, size, and comfort, both in the cruise industry and the ferry transportation market.