The Minister of Infrastructure and Sustainable Mobility has inaugurated the ship 'Iginia' of the fleet of Rfi that, with an investment of 7 million euros of the Recovery and Resilience Plan, has been equipped with green propulsion for the connection between Calabria and Sicily.
The ship entered service on March 8, 2022 and is part of the project to enhance and improve, also from the point of view of environmental sustainability, the dynamic crossing of the Strait of Messina. The ship is equipped with batteries that are recharged via solar panels or through the shore power socket, an environmental sustainable technology which ensures zero carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions in port and in entry and exit maneuvers. The new ship, which replaces the old 1983 “Villa” ship, will be used on the Messina-Villa San Giovanni route to transport passenger and freight trains. The hybridization of the ship Iginia is part of the redevelopment program of the ship for rail trans-shipment, which includes hybrid upgrades on two other ships and the construction of shore infrastructures for recharging, with a total investment of 20 million euros, funded by the NCP (National Complementary Plan). In order to improve the fast passenger transport service on the Strait of Messina, Rfi will purchase three new generation NLG/electric propulsion vessels that will significantly reduce polluting emissions. From next summer the first trains equipped with batteries will come into operation, which will make loading and unloading operations faster, as well as eliminating polluting diesel traction. With the use of trains with autonomous batteries, crossing times will be halved from around two hours to just over an hour. At the same time, the Port System Authority of the Strait has launched the "Stretto Green" project, which provides for the construction of a coastal LNG depot and the electrification of the docks for the activation of cold ironing in the ports of Messina, Milazzo, Reggio Calabria and Villa San Giovanni, for a total investment of 50 million euros, which will allow ships to turn off diesel engines while they are at the dock. Overall, out of the total investments of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Sustainable Mobility expected in the coming years equal to about 104 billion euros, for Calabria investments amount to almost 7 billion euros.