Cross Sound Ferry vessel receives new low-emission engines


Cross Sound Ferry has partnered with the Connecticut Maritime Foundation to buy and install four new diesel marine engines in the Jessica W, one of its high-speed passenger ferries operating out of New London, Conn., according to a press release.

The project was funded partially by an $800,000 Environmental Protection Agency Diesel Emissions Reduction Act grant. Cross Sound contributed over $1.6 million to purchase and replace the older diesel marine engines.

“We value the opportunity to work with EPA on this project of repowering the Jessica W high-speed passenger ferry,” John Wronowski, president and owner of Cross Sound Ferry, said in the release. “This project advances the environmental improvement goals for our fleet of vessels,” he said, adding that Cross Sound began this effort almost 10 years ago by installing new, low-emission engines in order to improve air quality both locally and throughout the region.

Since 2010, Cross Sound has repowered four of its vessels, including the Jessica W, and plans to repower two more under the DERA grant program.

That program, created in 2005, gave the EPA new grant and loan authority to promote reductions in emissions from existing diesel engines. Exposure to diesel exhaust can cause health problems like asthma and respiratory issues and also contributes to the ground-level ozone, which damages crops and other vegetation, according to the EPA website.

Replacement of the Jessica W’s engines is expected to reduce the vessel’s annual emissions of nitrogen oxides by 35.2 tons and particulate matter emissions by .36 tons, according to the release.

The Jessica W provides year-round service to Orient Point and seasonal service to Block Island. It is also one of the largest passenger-only, high-speed ferries operating on the East Coast, according to the release.

“Reducing diesel emissions means cleaner air for everyone,” said Curt Spalding, the regional administrator of EPA’s New England office.

The next two Cross Sound ferries scheduled for new engines are the Cape Henlopen and the New London, which carry both passengers and vehicles.

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Courtesy photo: Cross Sound Ferry