Elba Ferries ship (Corsica Ferries)

Corsica Ferries came into being in 1968, when Corsica risked being isolated due to continual strikes that blocked transport links from France to Corsica, which were at the time operated under a monopoly by the French state company.

It was at this time that Pascal Lota had the brilliant idea of setting up a line between Corsica and Italy with a ferry boat built in 1937 and since radically refurbished. Since then, the company’s success has always been accompanied by the continual growth and modernisation of the fleet, always in line with the growing needs of the market, as well as by the continual launching of new lines, which have given rise over the years to new brands belonging to the group with the yellow ships: Sardinia Ferries from 1981 and Elba Ferries from 1992 to 1997. Innovation in vessels to make them faster in order to increase the frequency of runs is the story of the last twenty years. In fact, in 1994, the company ordered three innovative fast ferries of the Acquastrada type, capable of carrying 150 cars and 550 passengers at 37 knots; these are currently the smallest vessels in the fleet.

The new millennium ushered in the era of fast cruise ferries, a new type of large ferry over 150 metres long with a carrying capacity of about 2000 passengers and 600 cars that can at the same time reach speeds of nearly 30 knots. These are currently the standard ships used for Sardinia and Corsica, the Mega Expresses (of which there are currently five), while the other five ferries in the fleet have similar capacities but reach speeds between 19 and 22 knots. The story of the relationship between Corsica Ferries and its ferries and the Island of Elba dates back to 1992, when the company Elba Ferries was founded especially, in addition to the already existing Corsica Ferries and Sardinia Ferries.

These companies use yellow and blue ships with the Moor’s head logo, the symbol of Corsica. The first operational ship on the Piombino-Portoferraio line was the Elba Nove, which transported 600 people and 100 cars eight times a day between the two ports. In 1995, a small fast vehicle built in Norway in 1992 was purchased, renamed Elba Express, and fitted with four engines and water-jet turbines. It was intended to replace the Elba Nova, transporting 40 cars at over 30 knots and taking less than 30 minutes to cross the distance between Piombino and Portoferraio, thus increasing the frequency of runs between the two ports to 20 a day. However, in 1997 the huge organisational and financial commitment that the group had undertaken to heavily modernise the whole fleet and the delay in the delivery of the specially ordered new fast ships meant that the company had to reorganise its operation and temporarily sacrifice the line to the Island of Elba and focus on Corsica and Sardinia. It was a difficult and painful decision, but what was even more difficult was regaining the assignment of the lines in the following years, since in the meantime the spaces in the port of Piombino had been occupied by competing companies.

After years of battles that ended up in court and before the anti-trust authorities, Corsica Ferries finally began running the route between Piombino and Portoferraio again in June 2012, this time still using a fast vessel but one with a much greater capacity than in the past. It is in fact the HSC Corsica Express Seconda: a good, fast, single-hulled craft built in ’96 by the I.N.M.A. shipyards in La Spezia. At 103 metres, it carries 150 cars and 535 passengers at 37 knots, thanks to four powerful water-jet engines than enable it to complete the Piombino-Portoferraio crossing in 30 minutes.

Profiles of the Corsica Ferries shipd running to the Island of Elba:

Corsica Express Seconda