MAY 24, 2018 —Ferry service is undergoing a renaissance in New York City and yesterday it crowned its queen when Seastreak, LLC, Atlantic Highlands, NJ, commissioned the 600-passenger M/V Seastreak Commodore, the largest U.S. Coast Guard Subchapter K high-speed ferry operating in the U.S.

Built at a cost of some $13 million at Gulf Craft, Inc., Franklin, LA, the sleek Seastreak Commodore has the distinctive, yacht-like profile that has become the signature look of Australian naval architectural firm Incat Crowther—which has designed hundreds of passenger catamarans. However, at yesterday’s commissioning, Seastreak’s President James (Jim) A. Barker, noted that there were 78 changes to the drawings for the Seastreak Commodore before any metal was cut at the shipyard. “We knew what we wanted,” said Barker. “We got a boat that if we were going to do it again, we would not make any changes.”SlideJack Jim Jim

Barker credited the hard work of Seastreak’s operations and engineering team, which was led by Jack Bevins, Vice President of Operations, and Brian Achille, Director of Vessel Engineering.

The Commodore is the “centerpiece of a $30 million program to bring Seastreak into the 21st century,” said Seastreak Chairman James R. Barker. The program started with interior and propulsion upgrades of the Seastreak Wall Street and Seastreak New York, and is continuing with the Seastreak New Jersey (currently being refit at a shipyard in Louisiana), and the Seastreak Highlands. Additionally, a keel has been laid at Midship Marine, Harvey, LA, for a second Commodore Class boat similar to the Seastreak Commodore.

Photo inset: (L to R): Jack Bevins, Vice President of Operations, Seastreak, LLC, James R. Barker, Chairman, Seastreak, LLC, and Jim Barker, President, Seastreak, LLC, on the deck of the new Seastreak Commodore

Named in honor of Cornelius Vanderbilt, nicknamed the “Commodore” as the progenitor of commercial ferry service between Staten Island and Manhattan, the Seastreak Commodore is a well-appointed commuter ferry, with panoramic windows, flatscreen TVs, a well-stocked bar (always a crowd-pleaser on the boat), comfortable airline-type seating, wood-like flooring, LED lighting, WiFi, and seven restrooms. Cruising at 38 knots, the high-speed ferry whisks up to 600 passengers from Atlantic Highlands and Highlands in Monmouth County, NJ, to Wall Street in about 40 minutes. The passenger seating is arranged to have 520 interior seats with an additional 206 exterior seats supplied by Berteaux located on the ferry’s second and third deck.

Slide interiorPhoto at left, the Seastreak Commodore has a spacious, comfortable seating area

Propulsion for the aluminum-hulled catamaran is supplied by four MTU 12V4000 M64, EPA-compliant, Tier 3 diesel engines, that drive four KaMeWa 63S4 waterjets supplied by Rolls-Royce.

Karl Senner, LLC, Kenner, LA, supplied four Reintjes WVS 730 reverse reduction gearboxes that allow for back-flushing the waterjets.  These gearboxes utilize lightweight aluminum housings, diagonal offsets, and robust gearing ideal for high speed catamaran with high operating hours.

The bridge features advanced bridge navigation equipment, supplied by Furuno USA, including:  two 32 in. x-band high speed radars, FLIR night vision technology, and a Furuno ECDIS chart plotting system.

NYC Ferry Resurgence
The Seastreak Commodore feels and rides like a big boat. With an overall length of 147 ft 8 in, beam of 39 ft 5 in, and draft of 5 ft 4 in, it dwarves the new 149-passenger ferries being operated by Hornblower in NYC Ferry interborough ferry service.

Seastreak’s multimillion dollar investment in its fleet is part of a resurgence of ferries in New York Harbor, propelled by a booming commercial and residential real estate market on the waterfront, anemically underfunded, overcrowded, rickety subway system, and the establishment of the new NYC Ferry system that connects Manhattan with the outer boroughs. While there has been a lot of finger pointing about the current sad state of the NYC subway system, Mayor Bill de Blasio has drawn praise (for the most part) for the establishment of the NYC Ferry service, which carried 3.7 million passengers on four routes during its first year in operation.

With two more routes launching this summer, the city projects passenger numbers could reach 9 million by 2023. The popularity of the service has been such that Mayor de Blasio announced on May 3—almost one year to the day of the launch of the NYC Ferry service—that the city was going to invest another $300 million for new 350-passenger boats, improvements to piers and docks, and a second homeport where ferries will be maintained and repaired.  Over the next five years, the city expects to double the capacity of its fleet, increase the frequency of its service, and enhance piers to allow additional vessels to dock simultaneously.

The city’s Department of Transportation is also building three 4,500-passenger iconic orange Staten Island Ferries at Eastern Shipbuilding in Panama City, FL, at a price of some $300 million.

Private investors such as Circle Line are upgrading their fleets to tote tourists around the harbor and Manhattan and the Trust of Governors Island has ordered a new steel-hulled ferry from Blount Boats, Warren, RI, for the 800-yard crossing between The Battery in Lower Manhattan and the island.

Published in Ferries

MAY 16, 2018 — As one of the largest ferry operators in the world, Washington State Ferries (WSF) has a high profile with the public and in the marine industry. So when WSF does something, people stand up and take notice. As we reported last month, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed a transportation measure that contained funding of $600,000 to develop a Request for Proposal (RFP) to convert its three WSF Jumbo Mark II Class vessels to hybrid electric propulsion.

Earlier this year, two studies were completed by Seattle-based naval architects and marine engineers for WSF regarding the conversion of Jumbo Mark II Class ferries and the related dockside infrastructure.

The Hybrid System Integration Study performed by Elliott Bay Design Group (EBDG) examined the feasibility, technology, and costs involved in converting the three ferries, the M/V Wenatchee, M/V Tacoma, and M/V Puyallup, to hybrid electric propulsion. The study estimated the cost to convert the three 460 ft x 90 ft ferries. The real benefits of the project would be substantial fuel savings and to the environment, significantly slashing particular matter, NOx and SOx emissions. Concludes the study: “WSF produces 67% of WSDOT's total emissions and the three Jumbo Mark II vessels emit 26% of WSF's share of carbon emissions. Given the late 1990's emissions standards that the Jumbo Mark II diesel engines were required to meet, the emissions savings is likely even greater in regard to NOx, SOx, and diesel particulate matter. This project would have enormous impact in meeting the 2020 emissions targets.”

In 2009, state agencies were directed by the legislature to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and report these reductions to the Department of Ecology. This requirement is part of the State Agency Climate Leadership Act that sets a goal for agencies to reduce their emissions:

  • 15% below 2005 levels by 2020.
  • 36% below by 2035.
  • 57.5% below by 2050.

Each agency is required to come up with strategies to meet their reduction goals.

Upgrades at the docks and the utilities in Seattle, Bainbridge, Edmonds, and Kingston, where the boats operate, would be no small cost either. The WSF Medium Voltage Shore Power Feasibility Study by Glosten examines the charging infrastructure needed to recharge the ferries dockside, as well as costs to the utility for power, and battery replacement. Glosten estimated it would cost $6.91 million to upgrade each terminal.

Welcoming a delegation from Norway
Converting the three WSF Jumbo Mark II Class vessels to electric propulsion will put the fleet on the cutting edge of maritime clean technology—not only in the U.S., but globally, points out classification society DNV GL.

Earlier this month, Washington State officials welcomed a delegation from Norway to share and learn from the acknowledged global leaders in the maritime clean-tech sector. Key participants in the collaboration event included the Washington State Departments of Transportation (WSDOT) and WSF, Commerce, Port of Seattle, NCE Maritime Clean Tech Cluster, the Norwegian Maritime Authority, Norwegian Embassy, and industry leaders, including DNV GL and the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprises..

Among the Washington State officials meeting with the Norwegian delegation was Roger Millar, Secretary of Transportation, WSDOT.Slide engine

The engine conversion is expected to take place during normal maintenance time, avoiding disruption of passenger services, WSDOT officials said. The project is also expected to save up to $14 million in ferry operating costs.

“We’re anticipating that that hybrid conversion is going to pay for itself in the fuel saved,” Millar said. “It’s going to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by about a third, and it paves the way to converting the rest of our fleet to either a hybrid technology or an all-electric technology.”

At right, one of four diesel engines on the M/V Tacoma. Two of the ferry's four engines will be replaced in order to convert it into a hybrid-electric vessel

As the initiator of the Green Coastal Shipping Program — the Norwegian public-private partnership founded in 2015 — DNV GL shared lessons learned on the success factors for early markets to establish an effective green shift, as well as “cluster” models for collaboration. The company also provided insights from its role as the Technical Advisor to the NOx Fund, a model public-private policy mechanism that has funded many of the emission reducing innovations.   

The Washington Maritime Blue initiative builds upon a similar vision and framework as the Norwegian models. Led by the Washington State Department of Commerce, the initiative aims to make Washington State home to the nation’s most sustainable maritime industry by 2050 and bring together industry, workforce, government, labor, technology, research, financial and education sectors into a unified, sustainable “maritime cluster.” When the initiative was launched earlier this year, DNV GL was engaged by Commerce to facilitate and provide expertise to the project.   

“We are looking forward to building a collaborative partnership between the Norwegian Maritime Clean Tech and our growing Washington Maritime Blue clusters,” said Joshua Berger, the Governor’s Sector Lead and Director of Economic Development for Maritime. “As we develop into a center of excellence for maritime innovation these types of relationships are critical for knowledge and tech transfer for growth,” said Berger. Based on their successful track record,” he added, “DNV GL can clearly support us and our stakeholders as we move forward in a coordinated and visible process.”

The conversion of the three Jumbo Mark II Class ferries will lead the way for electrification of the entire fleet. The electrification program, an accelerated demonstration project of Washington Maritime Blue, will significantly cut emissions, improve reliability, save money and virtually eliminate the engine noise that can disturb marine wildlife such as orcas.   

During the visit, the delegation, including Norwegian Ambassador to the U.S. Kåre Aas, toured the ferry Tacoma and discussed the plans under Gov. Jay Inslee’s new Washington Maritime Blue initiative to bring the fleet into the era of sustainable, low-carbon and low-cost operations.   

With extensive experience in maritime battery technology and shore side charging, DNV GL shared its recommendations for a holistic approach to establish onshore “microgrid” charging stations with battery storage systems for optimized infrastructure for ferry electrification. Along with other leading Norway delegate companies and organizations, the insights shared will help to establish Washington State’s leadership role in U.S. maritime and energy sustainability.   

“Bringing the Norwegian delegation to Washington marks a significant step forward for Washington Maritime Blue and its transition to a cluster organization,” said Freddy Friberg, Regional Manager for DNV GL – Maritime Americas. “These collaborations bring invaluable insights on how maritime clusters can drive the innovation necessary for success.”

 

Published in Ferries

MAY 15, 2018 — Austal Limited (ASX: ASB) reports that it has finalized the details of its previously announced investment of up to US$30 million for capacity expansion. This investment will be focused in the company's commercial shipbuilding facilities in Western Australia and Asia.

Austal says it first noted potential plans to expand its existing commercial shipbuilding facilities in mid-2017, following a significant increase to its order book at that time. This growth has continued with Austal's current commercial vessel order book now extending out until early 2021, including five large vessels (over 80 m in length).

After conducting an extensive analysis, Austal has selected its existing Philippines and Henderson shipyards for the capacity expansion. Works have commenced and will be funded from Austal's ongoing cash reserves. Completion of the works are expected during 2018 at Henderson and in early 2019 in the Philippines.

Austal CEO David Singleton said the investment was primarily focused on the large ferry market where Austal holds a competitive advantage through its advanced design, high-speed vessels, and modular construction approach.

"The capital investment in the commercial operation will increase Austal's ability to secure and deliver large high speed aluminium vessel contracts in highly cost effective shipyards,"Singleton said. "The demand outlook in the market for large high speed aluminum vessels underpins Austal's decision to focus its investment in this sector."

The facility investments are as follows:

Henderson, Western Australia

Austal's Henderson operation is currently constructing a $100 million, 109-m high speed catamaran ferry for Mols Lines of Denmark and will shortly commence construction of the first of two, 117-m trimarans for Fred Olsen Lines, worth a combined $190 million, destined for the Canary Islands.

The AUD 6 million capital investment to upgrade the facilities at Henderson will include enhanced launch facilities to support large vessel construction and infrastructure upgrades to support improved efficiency across the operations.

The investment is in addition to last year's expansion of capacity with the establishment of a Pacific Patrol Boat shipyard in a new facility in Naval Base. This facility is primarily focused on steel ship construction and will deliver the first of 21 vessels later this year. Production of the last vessel is due for completion in FY2024, under construction and sustainment contracts worth approximately $335 million.

Cebu, Philippines

Austal will invest circa US$18 million to more than double the capacity of its existing Philippines shipyard. The upgrades to the facilities will include a new assembly hall that will be 120 m long, 40 m wide, and 42 m high. This will enable the shipyard to assemble the largest commercial vessels, based on Austal's existing order book and tender pipeline.

Upgrades will also include additional assembly bays, material storage and accommodation facilities to allow the workload at the site to increase to more than twice its historic peak. These facilities are due for successive completion through 2018, with all construction complete by early 2019.

The new assembly hall will enable Austal to construct two large (100+ metre long) vessels in parallel in Henderson and the Philippines.

Austal Philippines currently has in production:

  • a109-metre high speed catamaran for Fjordline of Norway, worth $108 million
  • two 50-m high speed vessels for Braveline (a subsidiary of Wisdom Marine), worth $44 million
  • one 49-m vessel for SNC Aremiti, worth $30 million
  • one 30-m vessel for VS Grand Tours, worth $5 million

As a result of the increased investment it is expected that revenue in Cebu will double in FY19 and FY20, compared to the recent average.

Vung Tau, Vietnam

In addition to the investment outlined above, Austal has recently commenced a small commercial shipyard operation in Vietnam. The new location is located in the highly industrialized shipbuilding and marine support precinct to the south of Ho Chi Minh City. The location was selected to provide additional high quality aluminum construction support to Austal's commercial operations both for modules for larger ships (supporting Austal Philippines) and to build smaller high speed aluminum vessels.

Austal Vietnam operations are operating in a leased facility requiring only minimal capital investment. The operations are currently completing registration and qualification from both the Vietnam authorities and from DNV GL classification society.

Austal says that Vietnam was selected for this expansion due to the immediate availability of a highly experienced management team and support personnel. Several of the senior personnel in the new operations were originally Austal trained and have extensive and successful experience in high quality aluminium shipbuilding.

Published in Shipyard News

MAY 4, 2018 — For years, Norway has been actively working through the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to limit greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from international shipping and, at home, has pursued a similar policy. Norway has been and continues to be a leader in the promotion of battery-electric car ferries through public procurement as a climate measure. Development of more energy-efficient technologies for shipping is also enhanced through R&D programs under the Research Council of Norway, Innovation Norway and Enova.

This has led to the introduction of such award-winning vessels as the all-electric ferry MS Ampere and the 400-passenger hybrid propulsion tourist boat Vision of the Fjords and the recently launched tourist vessel Future of the Fjords, which was built in Hyen by Brødrene AA for the Fjords. It will sail between Gudvangen and Flåm in the Nærøyfjord, which is also a world heritage fjord.

Now, Norway is going a step further with the creation of what would be the world’s first zero emission zones at sea. Norway’s parliament, Storting, has adopted a resolution to halt emissions from cruise ships and ferries in the Norwegian world heritage fjords as soon as technically possible and no later than 2026. Norway has about 1,190 fjords. The decision will have a positive impact on the local population, transport and tourism, climate and the environment, and the maritime industry.

"For the first time in the world there is a requirement for emission-free sailing in the fjords and their harbors,” says Marius Holm, head of the environmental foundation ZERO.  “Norway has long been a world leader in emission-free ferries based on sound political decisions on zero-emission requirements. Now the country is taking a step further in the maritime green shift that has global repercussions.  At the national level, this will mean a welcome development towards emission-free solutions on many tourist ships, a significant decrease in greenhouse gas emissions and a halt to harmful local air pollution,” adds Holm.

Hege Økland, CEO of the maritime industrial cluster NCE Maritime CleanTech, says the decision will be of great significance for the marine industry. She compares it to the Norwegian Parliament’s decision from 2015 saying that all ferries in new tenders must have low or zero emission technology. This has led to an electric revolution in the Norwegian fjords, as more than 60 electrical ferries will be seaborne within the next few years.

“Norway has become a world-leading maritime supplier of low- and zero-emissions solutions,” says Økland. “The decision on zero-emission fjords can secure our industry's position in this area, so that Norwegian business will be strengthened and we can provide green solutions also to the rest of the world,” says Økland.

Havila Holding AS, one of the operators to ply the coastal route between Bergen and Kirkenes from 2021, believes it is perfectly possible to have emissions-free ships and ferries in the Norwegian fjords within a few years.

“Havila welcomes this decision, and not a moment too soon. We’ll be ready to sail emissions-free with our cruise ships in the fjords as early as 2021,” says Per Sævik, CEO of Havila. 

The Norwegian fjords are a huge and popular tourist attraction, and one of the fjords most visited is the Geiranger Fjord in Møre og Romsdal. Last year, more than 300.000 cruise passenger visited Geiranger and this huge traffic has led to high air pollution becoming a major problem for both tourists and residents.  Measurements show that air pollution in the village is periodically so high that it can be a health hazard.

“Tourists come to see pure nature, not fjords full of exhaust.  Norway also has an international responsibility to manage its world heritage sites.  We have long been seeking concrete action, and are therefore very pleased with this decision on emissions-free fjords,” says Katrin Blomvik, director of the Geiranger Fjord World Heritage Foundation.

The decision means in practice that all cruise and tourist ships currently sailing along the coast of Norway immediately have to plan for how to halt emissions.  Existing ships must be equipped for electric propulsion with battery packs and, in the future, hydrogen.

Several new ships already have, or are planning, such solutions. In addition, onshore power will be needed in ports to enable ships to recharge when docked.

Published in Environment

MAY 1, 2018 — Designer Incat Crowther has released some further details on the 33 m catamaran passenger ferry now under construction at Gladding Hearn Shipbuilding, Somerset, MA, for Rhode Island Fast Ferry (see earlier story).

The vessel will expand on the success of the Incat Crowther designed Ava Pearl, delivered by Gladding Hearn in 2012, by meeting increased passenger demand and adding a new route to RIFF's operation.

Carrying 320 passengers, the vessel will offer more than twice Ava Pearl's passenger capacity.

Large boarding areas port and starboard lead directly in to the main deck cabin, as well as to stairs to the upper deck. The main deck cabin seats 142 passengers facing forward throughout the center, and at tables adjacent to the windows. In addition, there are four wheelchair spaces.

At the aft end of the cabin are three toilets, including one that is fully-accessible. Ahead of this is a large bar and shop. The forward end of the cabin has large doors to access the foredeck and forward boarding area.

The upper passenger deck is divided into two zones. The forward zone is enclosed around three sides and seats 61 passengers. The aft portion of the cabin features 74 open-air seats.

The roof deck has capacity for 60 passengers for external viewing in good weather, with 18 seats.

Luggage racks are fitted across the aft end of the main deck, with dedicated side gates to allow crew to safely load luggage independent of passenger movements. Additional luggage storage is provided on the foredeck.

The superstructure sits on resilient mounts to reduce the transmission of noise and vibrations. The vessel featurea Incat Crowther's "S bow: hulls which have demonstrated improved passenger comfort in the sea conditions typically encountered in the region.

Powered by a pair of MTU 12V4000 M64 engines each producing 1,398 kW, the vessel will have a loaded service speed of 29 knots.

PRINCIPAL DIMENSIONS

Length Overall: 108' 8" / 33.1m

Length Waterline: 106' 8" / 32.5m

Beam Overall: 31' 8" / 9.65m

Draft (hull): 5' 9" / 1.75m

Draft (prop): 7' 9" / 2.36m

Depth:12' 6" / 3.8m

Construction: Marine grade aluminum

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Published in Ferries

APRIL 30, 2018 — Classification society Lloyd's Register (LR) says that installation of a rotor sail on the LNG-fueled ferry Viking Grace (see earlier story) was carried out with LR approval of the structure and the risk-assessment related to the installation of the sail in line with its Guidance Notes for Flettner Rotor Approval. The approvals were conducted to ensure that the rotor would not adversely affect the safe operation of the ship or the safety of the crew.

The rotor sail, developed by Finnish company Norsepower Oy Ltd, is expected to cut fuel consumption and reduce emissions (by up to 900 tonnes CO2 annually). Viking Grace is already operating on wind assisted voyages between Turku, Finland and Stockholm, Sweden. The LNG-fueled ferry has been in operation since 2013 when LR helped Viking Line handle the complexities of the LNG tanks on the stern deck as well as its regulatory, class and operational requirements.

The rotor sail installed on Viking Grace is 24m in height and 4m in diameter and uses the Magnus effect for propulsion. As the rotor is spinning, the passing air will flow with a lower pressure on one side than the opposite side. The propulsion force created by this pressure difference drives the vessel forward. The rotor sail operation is automated and the system will shut down in response to any disadvantageous changes in the direction or force of the wind.

"The use of wind power reflects Viking Line's green values and we want to pioneer the use of solutions that reduce impact on the environment. Based in Finland, Norsepower has developed a world-class mechanical rotor sail solution that will reduce fuel consumption. We are proud of the fact that Viking Grace will be the first passenger ship in the world to benefit from this innovative solution," said Jan Hanses, CEO of Viking Line.

LR's Jane Jenkins, Lead Specialist, Passenger Ship Support Center, commented: "A few years ago LR developed an animation called 'The Ferry – a story of innovation', which at one point shows a ferry with wind rotors and kite sails sailing across the screen at breakneck speed. At the time rotor sail technology was clear but not immediately contemplated in the context of a ferry. It is wonderful to see what seemed like an idea at the time become a reality. We are immensely proud to have been part of the journey."

In addition to the installation onboard the Viking Grace, Viking Line will also install two Norsepower rotor sails onboard a newbuild cruise ferry vessel which is currently being built by China's Xiamen Shipbuilding and which is due to be operational in 2020.

Viking Grace

Photo: Tuukka Ervasti

The cylindrical rotor s

 

Published in Latest

APRIL 27, 2018 — The former Westpac Express, an Austal high speed cat delivered in 2001 and chartered by the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift until January 2018, has now entered service with Irish Ferries as the Dublin Swift, following an extensive refurbishment at the Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast.

The 100.9 m Dublin Swift replaces a smaller Austal cat, the Jonathan Swift, delivered in 1999, on the Dublin Holyhead route and is now the largest fast ferry crossing the Irish Sea.

It will operate at a cruising speed of 35 knots on the same frequency of twice daily return sailings as the vessel it is replacing, but has greater car (220) and passenger (820) carrying capacity and offers a completely redesigned interior and a significantly upgraded level of passenger accommodations.

Configured somewhat differently on the inside, the passenger accommodation area is arranged on a single deck rather than the double deck layout familiar to passengers on the Jonathan Swift.

Needless to say, passenger amenities are somewhat different than those provided by MSC during the vessel's service as Westpac Express.

Onboard facilities include a dedicated TV snug, cafeteria, self-service restaurant and games area. Passengers have a choice with spacious seating accommodation in the standard cabin, or plush reclining seats with views to sea, in-seat recharging points and complementary refreshments in the Club Class Lounge at the very front of the ship. Free Wi-Fi is offered throughout.

Published in Ferries

APRIL 26, 2018 — In a world first, Wärtsilä has successfully carried out testing of its innovative autodocking technology with the Folgefonn, an 83-m long ferry owned by leading Norwegian operator Norled. The vessel has hybrid propulsion and is already fitted with a Wärtsilä wireless charging system.

The autodocking tests took place commencing in January of this year and were completed in April with actual harbor docking trials. At no time during the tests did the captain need to take manual control.

In the autodocking procedure, the system is activated some 2,000 m from the berth. The vessel continues at normal transit speed and the system then performs a gradual slowing of speed, and activates the line-up and dockingmaneuver fully automatically until the ship is secured at the berth. When the ship is ready to sail again, the system can be used in an identical but reverse manner for the departure procedure .

Full maneuvering of the vessel, including the steering and propulsion, is automatically controlled by the software. However, manual intervention and control is possible at any time. The automatic function allows the ship's officers to focus on situational awareness outside the wheelhouse, improving the safety and reliability of the operations.

Wärtsilä's autodocking technology delivers benefits to operators that include improved safety as there is less likelihood of human error; less wear and tear since the thrusters are efficiently utilized; and greater efficiency in docking which allows more time at berth.

Norled has made the Folgefonn available to Wärtsilä for further development of a number of Wärtsilä Smart Marine products and systems. Among the Wärtsilä technologies already installed and tested are its energy optimization system, the hybrid propulsion system, wireless inductive battery charging, and energy storage. The ferry can now be operated with automatic wireless charging, automatic vacuum mooring and automated docking.

"We thank Norled for their valued cooperation in this project. These tests represent an important element within Wärtsilä's overall smart marine vision. Autodocking can become a vital part of our offering to the ferry and other shipping markets, and will further promote our activities in leading the transformation into a new era of high efficiency and profitability for our customers," says Roger Holm, President, Wärtsilä Marine Solutions.

"We are pleased to support Wärtsilä's efforts for creating greater efficiencies for marine operators. Technologies that improve safety, reduce operating costs, and lower the environmental impact can only be good for our industry," says Sigvald Breivik, Technical director, Norled.

Wärtsilä's autodocking project is supported by the Norwegian state-owned Innovasjon Norge (Innovation Norway).

Wärtsilä autodocking technology tests were carried out with the Folgefonn ferry owned by Norled.

Published in Ferries

APRIL 25, 2018 — Statue Cruises, the official provider of ferry service to the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island , was today presented with the prestigious Rear Admiral Richard E. Bennis Award by U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Paul Zukunft in a ceremony at Fort Wadsworth, Staten Island.

The biennial award is presented for Excellence in Maritime Security.

With nearly nine million people visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island over the last two years, being able to safely transport thousands of people daily is paramount.

Nominees for this award are evaluated based on several criteria, including overall security activities, strategic partnerships that raise overall awareness with public and private agencies, how the organization implements a culture of security among all employees, along with how security measures are innovatively integrated into overall maritime operations to address any and all security concerns.

Among the key reasons that Statue Cruises was recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard were:

  • Strong working relationships and coordination with multiple law enforcement entities at the city, state and federal levels, including the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, the State of New York and the National Park Service.
  • Integration of daily canine inspections to further enhance security prior to departures.
  • Security best practices for training and operational procedures.
  • Regular security drills and training with local, state and federal partners to reinforce response procedures.
  • Development of exercise scenarios that test proper protocols, readiness and effectiveness for any emergency situation.

"For the millions of visitors traveling on board our vessels to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, ensuring their safety and security as we welcome our guests is essential to our mission," said Mike Burke, Vice President and COO of Statue Cruises. "We are truly honored to receive such a prestigious award from the U.S. Coast Guard, and to be recognized as a model for other maritime operators to promote a safe environment for employees and guests."

"The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are global icons of the American ideals of freedom, democracy and opportunity. The safety and security of these icons and the millions of visitors who come here from all over the world are paramount to the mission of the National Park Service," said Superintendent John Piltzecker. "Statue Cruises has been our key partner in working with the United States Park Police to effectively carry our safety and security protocols. We are pleased that they are the recipients of such a prestigious award from the United States Coast Guard, it is well deserved."

The Rear Admiral Richard E. Bennis Award is named after Richard E. Bennis, who served in the U.S. Coast Guard for over three decades and led the Coast Guard evacuation of Manhattan after 9/11 before retiring in 2002. He passed away in 2003.

Statue Cruises, an affiliate of Hornblower Yachts, is the first ferry operator in New York Harbor to receive the Bennis Award.

Published in Safety and Security

APRIL 20, 2018 — Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, Duclos Corporation, has begun construction of a second high-speed passenger ferry for Rhode Island Fast Ferry, Inc., which is to open a new seasonal route between Quonset Point, Rhode Island and Block Island. Delivery is scheduled for 2019.

Ava Pearl, the operator's first high-speed catamaran built by the Somerset, Mass., shipyard in 2012, provides passenger service to the island of Martha's Vineyard off of Cape Cod.

The new 320-passenger, all-aluminum catamaran measures 108.79 feet (33.1 m) overall, 31.5 feet (9.6 m) at the beam, and draws six feet (1.9 m).

It will be powered by twin MTU-12V4000M64 diesel engines, each delivering 1,875 bhp at 1,800 rpm. The engines turn a pair of five-blade Ni-Br-Al propellers through ZF 5055 gearboxes.

The ferry will be equipped with a pair of 55 kW generators and a VT/MDI hydraulic trim tab motion-control system. Top speed is to reach 29 knots.

The vessel features the designer's "S" bow hulls, which, according to the shipbuilder, have proved to provide excellent seakeeping, directional stability and a high tolerance to shifts in trim and displacement.

Entrance into the boat is through the port and starboard side doors.

With more than twice the passenger capacity of the Ava Pearl, the new ferry's seating arrangement reflects a blend of both interior and exterior comfort during the summer season. Equipped throughout with Beurteaux seats and tables, the main cabin has generous seating for 142 passengers, a snack bar and four heads.

A 180,000 BTU HVAC system will heat and cool the main cabin and wheelhouse on the second deck.

The second deck features partially-protected outdoor seating for 124 passengers. The open third deck, with seating for 18 passengers, has ample standing room for additional passengers.

Space for luggage storage is on the fore and aft decks.

The vessel is equipped with an interior and exterior public address system and a video entertainment system in the main cabin.

Published in Ferries
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