2001 Maritime

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August 7, 2001

Sixty knot ferry nears completion
What is being claimed as the "world's fastest ferry to date" is nearing completion at Royal Crown Yachts' shipyard in Tampa Bay, Florida. Owned and operated by Bradenton-based Fast Cats Ferry Service (FCFS), the 100-ft by 28 ft, 149 passenger PurrSeaverance is being built to U.S. Coast Guard Subchapter "T" requirements.

Powered by four Caterpillar 1100-hp 3412E diesels driving 2500 Pulse Systems Inc. (PSI) surface-piercing drives through ZF1:1 transmissions, PurrSeaverance is expected to have a top speed in the neighborhood of 60 knots or 70 mph. It will have an underway draft of two feet and a service wake of less than one foot at its operating speed.

The projected operating area will be from the Tampa Bay area to Key West. FCFS claims that the ferry ride from Bradenton to Key West will be about three hours.

Among the reasons for the ship's high speed is its use of the surface effect "air cushion" principle, says Howard Harley, who developed and patented PurrSeaverance's hull design.

"The hull could be categorized as an SES (Surace Effect Ship) design, but essentially it is a hybrid between a catamaran and a hovercraft. The hull combines dynamic lift with an air cushion," Harley says.

The Florida-based designer explains that among the unique aspects of his design is its twin V-hull and planing surface which contribute to the "dynamic lift" effect-- the hull quickly attains planing speed which then allows the air cushion system to work at peak efficiency. Rigid "walls" around the hull contains the air and reduces the amount of leakage enabling the hull to maintain a more efficient air cushion.

The design is not limited to relatively small vessels either, says Harley. "The bigger and heavier boats are, the more suitable the design is," he declares.

The design's small planing surface which reduces drag and contributes to higher speeds increases in efficiency when utilized with larger and heavier boats, Harley says.

Two 315-hp Caterpillar 3208 lift motors maintain PurrSeaverance's air cushion. The boat's relatively light weight is due to its all-composite construction-- another feature of the Harley design. PurrSeaverance's hull is all Kevlar and the superstructure is 100-percent carbon fiber.

According to Gary Carlin, Royal Crown Yacht's Shipyard vice-president, PurrSeaverance is presently in the final stages of Coast Guard approval and the boat should be in service by Labor Day (September 3).

HDW goes digital
Germany's largest shipbuilder Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft AG, Kiel, is switching its whole development, engineering and product data management onto digital and integrated processes.

To achieve this, it has signed a contract with IBM and CENIT AG Systemhaus.

"The migration to e-collaboration will make us much more competitive on an international level," says Hans-Joachim Schmidt, executive board member, HDW. "Not only will we be able to deliver our vessels faster, but we will also increase productivity and quality."

The long-term collaboration agreement between HDW, IBM and CENIT AG covers a broad package of hardware, software and services. The first stage will include the installation, implementation and user training of 200 IBM workstations equipped with Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions CATIA and ENOVIA 3D design software. Advanced specialized shipbuilding modules will be developed through this collaboration. IBM will supply not only hardware and software, but together with CENIT will provide what it describes as "all encompassing conceptual work and consulting for the introduction." Initially, implementation will focus on deep-sea marine vessels, such as submarines.

Part of this first phase of HDW's implementation for next generation submarines will see physical models will be replaced by virtual prototypes existing solely on the computer. "If you consider that today before going into production we must build exact 1/5 scale plastic model for each submarine type. You can imagine the impact this has on the economics of our shipbuilding process as a whole," says Schmidt.

Dr. Manfred Sammet of IBM said the company will soon inaugurate a European Shipbuilding Competency Center in Hamburg to provide optimal support of the whole shipbuilding industry in the area of Product Lifecycle Management for the continous development and enhancement of industry-specific modules required by the shipbuilding industry."

Royal Olympic cancels remainder of undelivered Explorer's summer program
The wrangle between Royal Olympic Cruises and shipbuilder Blohm & Voss continues. Today, Royal Olympic announced it had "regretfully been forced to cancel the cruises of its new vessel, Olympic Explorer, for the remainder of the summer season."

Although it had been reported that Royal Olympic hoped to commence cruises with the vessel on September 15, the cruise line says "it has not been possible to finalize all the discussions with the Blohm+Voss shipyard to allow the necessary technical modifications to be completed by this date.

Commenting on the cancellation, Yiannos Pantazis, Royal Olympic's CEO, stated: "It is a real disappointment to us that the ship will not be able to undertake any cruises during the summer season, but we hope to have the vessel ready to commence operations for the next season."

The company said that all passengers booked on Olympic Explorer from September 15 would be offered alternative cruises on other Royal Olympic ships.

Blohm + Voss tendered Olympic Explorerfor delivery in April. Sea trials wer completed on March 15 and, according to the yard, all measurements confirmed the same high comfort and speed level as the sister vessel, Olympic Voyager, delivered in June 2000, 14 days ahead of schedule.

Glacier Bay cruises axed
The Anchorage Daily News reports that In response to a federal court order, the National Park Service will likely prohibit nine cruise ships from entering Glacier Bay National Park this summer.

The cutback is less drastic than the barring of 32 ships starting this week that some people had anticipated after Friday's decision by District Judge James K. Singleton. But it still means 13,500 passengers won't get to see the national park.

The newspaper says Judge Singleton's order caught many people in the tourism industry off-guard because they expected the cuts to begin next year, not amid the current season.

The lawsuit against the Park Service was originated by a group called the National Parks Conservation Association.

Though the Park Service hasn't finalized the cutback, the agency expects to submit it for Singleton's approval today or early Wednesday, says the newspaper.

On Friday, the judge told the Park Service to slash the number of cruise ships allowed into Glacier Bay immediately in response to a federal appeals court ruling.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the Park Service erred in allowing a 72 percent increase in cruise ship entries in 1997 without having done a major environment review. While the court ordered ship visits cut, it left it to Singleton to implement the order.

Meanwhile, there could be a legislative fix. Senator Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, penned an amendment this summer to the Senate-passed Interior Department appropriation bill that would keep ship entries at 139.