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Wärtsilä waterjets propel world’s fastest ferry

Written by Nick Blenkey

Incat-069-FranciscoJUNE 23, 2013 — Wärtsilä has provided details of the role of its equipment in helping the 99 m catamaran ferry Francisco turn in speeds that shipbuilder Incat Tasmania says make it the world’s fastest ship as well as the world’s first high speed dual-fuel vehicle and passenger ferry.

The ferry, which is being built for long time Incat customer Buquebus of Argentina attained a lightship speed of 58.1 knots (107.6 km/hr) in speed trials this month (see earlier story).

The vessel has now successfully passed its sea trials and is ready to commence commercial operations. It will transport both passengers and cars between Uruguay and Argentina.

In addition to two of its LJX1720SR axial waterjets, Wärtsilä has  supplied an advanced propulsion control system for the Francisco.

Incat-Buquebus-waterjetsThe Wärtsilä equipment was supplied at the end of 2012, and commissioning of the vessel took place in early 2013. A feature of the Wärtsilä waterjets is the high level of efficiency, which allows impressive power to be applied on relatively small jets. Furthermore, the compact dimensions enabled the waterjets to be installed within the ferry’s transom, thus saving valuable space.

Wärtsilä’s Lipstronic 7000 propulsion control system for maneuvering the vessel gives effective, reliable control of all the waterjets and is very easy to use. It is designed in accordance with IMO regulations and fulfils the requirements of all leading classification societies. The system controls and indicates the steering angle, bucket position and impeller speed, and can be operated alternatively with joystick control or autopilot. The system’s built-in redundancy makes it safe and robust.

“Wärtsilä is recognized as a market leader in this field, and this valuable order has further strengthened our position in the high powered waterjet end of the range. We are delighted to have continued our long standing co-operation with Incat in the completion of this vessel, which is truly a milestone delivery within the fast ferry sector. Our proven track record, together with the high efficiency and low operating costs of the Wärtsilä waterjet portfolio, were all key reasons for us being awarded this contract,” says Mr Arto Lehtinen, Vice President, Propulsion, Wärtsilä Ship Power.

“The Francisco will be the largest catamaran to be operated by Buquebus, and the fastest, environmentally cleanest, and most efficient high speed ferry in the world,” says Mr Juan Carlos Lopez Mena, President at Buquebus.

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