RFP issued for new Staten Island Ferry design

Written by Marine Log Staff

siferryJULY 18, 2012—The Staten Island Ferry, second only to Washington State Ferries in the number of passengers it carries annually, is looking to design a new class of ferry to replace its aging Kennedy and Barberi Class ferries, as well as modify the propulsion systems on its Molinari Class ferries. The New York City Department of Transportation, Ferry Division, issued a Request for Proposals on July 17 for Total Design and Constriction Support Services for the Construction of New and Modified Staten Island Ferries.” Respondents must submit their proposals on August 17, no later than 2 PM.

NYCDOT has fleet of eight ferries in the Staten Island Ferry Service that carry in excess of 20 million passengers annually on the route between Staten Island and Manhattan. The fleet consists of six large vessels with passenger capacities in excess of 4,500 for weekday and weekend day and evening service and 1,200 passenger Alice Austen Class ferries that operate during the overnight hours.

Three of six large ferries, the Molinari Class, entered service between 2005 and 2006. The Molinari Class includes the Guy V. Molinari, John J. Marchi and Spirit of America. The other three large ferries are significantly older. Two Barberi Class passenger-only ferries, the Andrew J. Barberi and Samuel I. Newhouse, were placed in service in the mid-1980’s. They have a passenger capacity of 6,000.

The last ferry, the John F. Kennedy, last of the Kennedy Class ferries operating, was constructed in 1965. With the exception of the Molinari Class ferries, all of these vessels are either at or are approaching the end of their useful operating lives and must be replaced.

In 2009, the NYCDOT commissioned a consultant to conduct a Preliminary Design Investigation to assess the future needs of the Staten Island Ferry fleet. This study projected future fleet capacity requirements and analyzed the best mix of vessels to meet future demand. The study looked at options of either reconstructing existing vessels or replacing them with new. The analysis suggested that reconstructing existing vessels was not an economically viable option and that new construction would be the best path to pursue.

In a separate Preliminary Design Investigation examined the feasibility of retrofitting the Molinari Class ferries with Voith Schneider Propellers and using VSPs as a means of propulsion for the new class of ferries. A standardization of propulsion systems across the fleet would allow the NYCDOT to benefit from of operational and training advantages, as well as maintenance and spare cost savings.

The RFP is expected to draw interest from the leading ferry designers in the U.S.

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