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Voith Schneider Propellers ordered for Canadian lake ferry

Written by Nick Blenkey

UAL ferryJANUARY 10, 2013  —  A new double-ended ferry being built by Waterbridge Steel under a contract awarded last June by the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure will have three Voith Schneider Propellers.

The ferry is being to replace two smaller ferries built in the 1960’s that are equipped with Voith Schneider Propellers (VSP). The vessels’ Voith Schneider propulsion systems have proven their worth under the specific application conditions and VSPs were thus again chosen for the new ferry.

The new vessel will be 320 feet long, 64 feet wide and weigh approximately 2.5 million pounds (1,100 metric tons).

The WaterBridge Steel shipbuilding team specializes in building vessels in remote sites, under difficult environmental conditions and with limited access to industrial infrastructure.  

The new ferry is beeing built over a period of approximately 20 months at a shipyard set up on the shores of Upper Arrow Lake in the Village of Nakusp, B.C.

WaterBridge Steel has two sister companies, WaterBridge Equipment and WaterBridge Ferries that operate inland ferry routes on behalf of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. WaterBridge Equipment operates the Francois Lake Ferry and WaterBridge Ferries operates the Arrow Lakes Ferries that the new ferry will replace.

Since 1968, these two VSP-propelled double-ended ferries — Shelter Bay and Galena Bay — have been transporting passengers and their vehicles between the bays of the same name on the Upper Arrow Lake. In 2011, the ferry route served just under 300,000 tourists, forestry workers and hunters. The vessels operate under adverse conditions with forestry activities around the lake resulting in plenty of driftwood and logs in the water.

Waterbridge has now ordered three type 18R5 EC/150-1Voith Schneider Propellers for the new double-endedferry. Two will be arranged diagonally in the ship; the third will be used as a spare. Robust stainless-steel propeller blades ensure reliable propulsion, even if the VSP are subject to hard impacts from driftwood or ice.

In addition to the VSP, Voith will supply two turbocouplings as well as the propeller control system for the project in July 2013. The couplings ensure soft start-up of the diesel engines and dampen any torsional vibrations. The combination mode integrated into the control system will ensures that the operator achieves a reduction in fuel consumption. When running in combination mode, propeller pitch and engine speed are optimized for maximum efficiency.

The new ferry will operate 7,000 hours a year. With its ability to transport 250 passengers and 80 cars, it has more than twice the capacity of the previous ferries.

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