NOVEMBER 21, 2012 — Australian shipbuilder Incat Tasmania Pty Ltd has launched what will be the world's first high speed passenger RO/RO ship to operate on LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) fuel. The vessel, Hull 069, is now moored alongside at the Incat shipyard wharf for the final stages of construction and commissioning of machinery. Sea trials are expected to take place January 2013.
The 99 m LNG ship was contracted by South American company Buquebus in November 2010, for operation on itsRiver Plate service between Buenos Aires, Argentina and Montevideo in Uruguay.
At the time the contract was announced Incat Chairman Robert Clifford said. "Incat is excited about this project as it represents a significant step in the global move for natural gas powered ships to replace those operated with less environmentally friendly fuels."
Hull 069 will be the eighth that Incat has built for Buquebus and its associated companies. It will be the company's largest catamaran thus far.
Hull 069 will have a capacity for almost 1,000 passengers plus around 140 cars and has a projected lightship speed of 53 knots, and an operating speed of 50 knots.
Crossing the River Plate (Rio de la Plata) at high speed will allow the ferry service to compete with airline traffic between Uruguay and Argentina.
The passenger cabin will include tourist, business and first class seating, and over 1,100 sq. metres of extensively fitted out duty free shopping space, the largest shopping area ever installed on a fast ferry.
The vessel will be the first installation of LNG powered dual fuel engines in an Incat high speed ferry, and the first high speed craft built under the HSC code to be powered by gas turbines using LNG as the primary fuel and marine distillate for standby and ancillary use.