New shallow draft ferry trio goes to work in Frisian Islands

Written by Nick Blenkey
New Frisian island ferry

New ferries have a shallow draft to enable operation in Frisian Island tidal conditions

Germany’s EMS Maritime Offshore (EMO), a subsidiary of AG Ems, has taken delivery of three new 54-passenger ferries from Singapore’s Penguin Shipyard. Designed by Incat Crowther, the 17-meter long vessels will operate on three busy routes between the North Frisian Islands and Neuharlingersiel, located on the north coast of the German mainland.

The three vessels, named WattnExpress, Inselexpress and Watt Sprinter, have been tailored to the unique local conditions in the intertidal Wadden Sea zone which separates the German mainland from the North Frisian Islands and the North Sea. Each vessel has a shallow draft — less than 0.7 meters — enabling them to operate independent of tidal conditions, which can reach very low levels.

The IMO Tier III-compliant vessels can transport up to 54 passengers at speeds of up to 19 knots. The vessels have also been customized to cater to the local community with space for wheelchair access and large indoor and outdoor luggage storage areas on the main deck.

Ed Dudson, Incat Crowther’s managing director for Europe, said the delivery of the new commuter fast ferries was the latest successful project in a long partnership with EMS Maritime Offshore (EMO).

“Incat Crowther has collaborated closely with EMS Maritime Offshore on these new vessels and their delivery marks an important milestone for the communities that rely on EMO’s service to commute to and from the German mainland,” said Dudson.

“The design of each vessel relied on Incat Crowther’s proven digital shipbuilding process,” Dudson continued. “This process saw our team of designers sit down with the team at EMO and ensure the design of each ferry was tailored to local conditions and requirements. The result of this process is a trio of safe, reliable, and efficient bespoke ferries.”

The delivery of the three new Frisian Island ferries comes after Incat Crowther previously delivered a 46-meter passenger ferry that services Emden – Borkum for AG Ems the parent company of EMO, and the delivery of a new 32-meter crew transfer vessel for EMO.

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