Solar-Powered Ferries Launched in Montenegro’s Bay of Kotor

Montenegro’s Bay of Kotor, known as Boka, has a new form of environmentally-friendly public transportation – solar-powered ferries. Two boats, one electric and one hybrid, are part of the Bella Boka project. They have been built by the eponymous company with the support of the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism, the Montenegrin Chamber of Economy, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the ministry said in a press release.

The solar-powered ferries – the electric trimaran christened Elettra and the hybrid Graciana – have been launched in Tivat. The value of the investment is around EUR 4.26 million, EUR 150,000 of which was financed by UNDP under the Towards Carbon Neutral Tourism in Montenegro project.

The project is expected to help reduce road traffic in the bay area, especially during the tourist season. During summer, traffic jams result in 90-minute to 120-minute travel times between Kotor and Herceg Novi. Bella Boka’s vessels will ferry passengers between the two coastal towns in only 45 minutes, with stops in Perast and Tivat.

The project will reduce harmful gas emissions, including CO2 emissions, while offering an exciting and inspirational way to travel without adversely impacting the environment and supporting the development of Montenegro as an ecological destination, according to the press release.

“We plan to hire 60 workers from Boka,” said Ricardo Bonetti, top man of Bella Boka. “Alongside these two boats, launched under the first phase of the project, another 7 should be launched by the end of 2020, each with a capacity to transport between 35 and 60 passengers. A total of 13 stops will be built, with electronic timetable displays, while the boats will transport passengers year-round, not only during the tourist season,” said Bonetti.

According to the official statistics, around 7,000 passengers are transported by car and bus through the Bay of Kotor annually. If half of them were to be transported by solar-powered catamarans, CO2 emissions would be cut by over 500,000 tonnes. In addition to the vessels ferrying passengers, a boat to collect plastic waste from the sea will also be deployed.

Transportation is responsible for 20% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Montenegro, a percentage expected to reach 30% by 2020. Under the Paris Agreement on climate change, Montenegro has committed to take steps to reduce GHG emissions, UNDP Resident Representative in Montenegro Daniela Gašparikova recalled