Marine Log

September 12, 2006

Innovative ferry concept

Italian shipyard group Rodriquez Cantieri Navali and Genoa-based classification society RINA have jointly developed an innovative and environmentally friendly high-speed ferry.

A full scale prototype of the ALISWATH, presently under construction, will undergo comprehensive sea trials in 2007.

The ALISWATH hybrid design combines the small wetted area of the SWATH concept with a hydrofoil system.

The prototype is designed to carry 450 passengers and 60 cars at speeds up to 28 knots, while reducing fuel consumption by 40 per cent compared with existing designs and also reducing wash, emissions and risk of oil pollution.

The key to the trimaran-like design is an immersed torpedo-shaped hull with secondary dynamic lift from a sophisticated wing foil system.

ALISWATH is the result of a significant R&D project carried out cooperatively by the Rodriquez Group and RINA with the involvement of the University of Genoa and the Krylov Institute of St. Petersburg.

The 64 m loa vessel is being built partly (the hull) at the Pietra Ligure yard and partly (the torpedo and wings) at the Messina yard.

The aluminum hull will have an installed power of 6,080 kW, from two stern pods plus twin diesel main engines mounted in the underslung torpedo hull and driving a high efficiency propeller. That compares with 9,300 kW required for the existing Rodriquez vessels of the same capacity and speed, the TMV70 series, which are already in service.

The stern pods systems, developed by Rodriquez Marine Systems, are equipped with pulling propellers that provide extra power, high maneuverability and allow 11 knots speed in the event of main engine failure.

Alcide Sculati, Technical Director of the Rodriquez Group, says, "In this time of high fuel costs and environmental awareness people still want to travel in comfort and travel quickly. The ALISWATH concept brings together, for the first time, the best of two good ideas and combines them in a unique way to reduce power requirements and wash. We have taken the opportunity to design in a number of safety features and improve maneuverability at the same time, and we are looking forward to proving the concept in service."

Mario Dogliani, Corporate Affairs Manager for RINA says, "The ALISWATH design has presented us with some welcome challenges, including dealing with the hull strength, wave loadings and environmental aspects such as location of the fuel tanks, while ensuring the vessel also complies with the IMO HSC Code. But it is step change for high speed ferries and we are confident it will set a new benchmark for clean, green and quick sea transportation. Both Rodriquez and RINA have extensive experience with high speed craft and also environmental factors, and this vessel combines our experience."

The prototype will be used to validate the tank test results and calibrate the wash reduction manual which will assist the master to keep wash to a minimum at the required speeds. Following trials Rodriquez expects to enter production during 2007.