Eastern Shipbuilding Group Inc.’s Allanton shipyard in Panama City, Fla., last week launched the Sandy Ground (Hull 220), the second of three new “Ollis Class” ferries for the New York City Department
Staten Island ferry
OCTOBER 18, 2018 — According to an update posted on Eastern Shipbuilding’s website earlier today, company President Joey D’Isernia reports that many of its employees are now back at work as the
APRIL 4, 2017—Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Panama City, FL, confirmed the contract to the design and build three 4,500-passenger capacity ferries for the iconic Staten Island Ferry, following a Notice to Proceed (NTP)
NOVEMBER 3, 2016—Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Panama City, FL, has been confirmed as the low bidder to build three 4,500-passenger ferries for the New York Department of Transportation’s Staten Island Ferry. New York
Considered the “forgotten borough” by some New Yorkers, Staten Island is on the verge of making its presence known in the city that never sleeps. The borough is a 25-minute ferry ride from the lowest tip in Manhattan, the Staten Island Ferry terminal at Whitehall.
Staten Island’s plan for renewal includes a $1.2 billion investment that will see the construction of the New York Wheel at St. George—an impressive 630 ft tall observation wheel that will rival England’s infamous London Eye, and feature 36 pods with accommodations for 40 in each, on a 38 minute ride/revolution, giving passengers a spectacular view of New York Harbor. Alongside the New York Wheel, New York City’s first outlet mall, Empire Outlets, is currently being constructed at St. George. The mall will feature 350,000 square feet of retail, 100 different shops and a 190-room hotel. Both the New York Wheel and Empire Outlets are expected to be operational by 2018.
How will tourist, potential shoppers, and New Yorkers alike make their way to these new attractions? They’ll be taking the Staten Island Ferry of course. The fleet, currently comprised of nine ferries, carries 22 million passengers a year—second only to Washington State Ferries’ fleet which carries over 23 million passengers annually.
And come 2019, the Staten Island Ferry fleet will welcome a new class to its fleet—the Ollis Class ferries.
Designed by Seattle-based Elliott Bay Design Group, the Ollis Class will mix the new with a bit of the old, providing passengers with a faster, more efficient ride to help meet increased ridership demand.
Its design will give the 320 ft x 70 ft ferries a striking resemblance to the beloved John F. Kennedy—which was commissioned in 1965 and is one of the oldest ferries in the Staten Island Ferry fleet. The Kennedy is one of three-that will be retired once the new Ollis Class series is delivered—the S.I. Newhouse and Andrew J. Barberi, both commissioned in 1981 are the other two.
The new Ollis Class will be double-ended and have capacity for 4,500 passengers; and like the Kennedy, will feature plenty of open air space, enabling passengers to enjoy the harbor view. The ferries will be built to ABS class requirements and will be powered by Tier 4 EMD engines and Voith Schneider Propulsion Drives.
The first of the three ferries will be named in honor of U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Michael Ollis, a native Staten Islander who died while saving another soldier in Afghanistan. He was only 24 years old.
The Staff Sgt. Michael Ollis ferry is expected to begin operations in 2019, with vessels two and three following later in 2019 and 2020.
Building the Ollis Class
As we were going to press, yards were putting in their final bids for the ferry project.
Among the yards that have expressed interest in the Ollis Class—at least according to the 2015 Industry Day attendance—are Conrad Shipyard, Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding, and Vigor. All are builders of a variety of vessel types including ferries.
Conrad Shipyard—which has won a number of newbuild contracts this year — has had its share of ferry projects in the past, and is looking to keep the momentum going.
As Dan Conrad, Conrad Shipyard’s Senior Vice President and Director, explains, “Conrad Shipyard has a great track record on deliveries to the Puerto Rico Maritime Authority, the Texas Department of Transportation, the State of North Carolina and the Alaska Marine Highway, among others.” And he assures that his team is committed to pursuing the ferry market for years to come.
Most recently, Conrad’s Conrad Aluminum, Amelia, LA, yard delivered the M/V Woodshole to the Steamship Authority. The 235 ft x 64 ft ferry was designed by Elliott Bay Design Group and has capacity for 384 passengers, 55 automobiles or 10 eighteen-wheel tractor-trailers.
Eastern Shipbuilding Group is said to have the inside track on building the Ollis Class ferries, according to our sources. It would be quite a month for the Panama City, FL-based shipyard, which recently secured the lucrative contract to build the OPC for the U.S. Coast Guard.
Meanwhile, Fincantieri’s recent expansion is helping it position its Bay Shipbuilding yard for larger projects that can be produced and worked on, year-round. The three-acre expansion will pave the way for additional covered fabrication and erection facilities, an indoor paint and coating building, and outfitting shop that will enable FBS to increase its pursuit of ferry projects.
“This expansion allows us to increase our capacity and positions us to pursue a number of new construction markets, including large passenger ferries,” said FBS Vice President and General Manager Todd Thayse. “Our experience in building ferries and other complex passenger vessels dates back to our origins almost a hundred years ago, and includes the New York Staten Island Ferry now operating (the Guy V. Molinari). We have the people, the experience, the facilities, and the global resources of Fincantieri to ensure that we can tackle the most challenging construction projects.”
As for the shipbuilding powerhouse in the Northwest, Vigor, it’s currently working on six ferry projects at the moment, including the final two vessels in Washington State Ferries’ new 144-car Olympic Class.
“Vigor has deep expertise in the ferry market with successful, on-time and on-budget deliveries of car ferries, passenger only vessels and catamarans. Six ferries are currently under construction at our Washington and Alaska yards and we expect ferry construction to continue to be a focus in our business development efforts, leveraging our considerable experience,” said Corey Yraguen, Vigor Executive VP of Fabrication.
Just last month the Chimacum, the third in the series was christened at Vigor’s Harbor Island yard. The fourth vessel in the series, the Suquamish, is currently under construction and scheduled for completion in 2018, with operations set to begin in 2019.
The 144-car ferries are the result of a combined effort from a consortium of Northwest based companies, including Nichols Brothers Boat Builders, Freeland, WA, which has been in charge of building the superstructures for the144-car ferries.
In other Vigor ferry news, Vigor’s Ballard Facility (formerly Kvichak Marine) is building two 400 passenger ferries for the Water Emergency Transportation Authority of San Francisco (WETA). The Incat Crowther designed ferries will travel 27 knots and are scheduled for delivery Summer 2017.
And Vigor’s Ketchikan yard in Alaska has taken up the task of constructing the highly anticipated 280 ft Day Boat ferries for the Alaska Marine Highway System. The ferries, designed by Elliott Bay Design Group, are scheduled to be completed Fall 2018.
Vigor’s Executive VP of Business Development, Keith Whittemore, will be discussing Vigor’s ferry projects and more at the Marine Log Ferries Conference & Expo November 3 & 4, 2016, Seattle, WA. Attendees of the event will also have the chance to tour Vigor’s Harbor Island yard after the conference’s conclusion. Learn more at www.marinelog.com/events
Staten Island Borough President, James Oddo sparked additional interest in the Staten Island Ferry system when he requested the New York City Department of Transportation explore the feasibility of extending the Staten Island Ferry’s route north of the Whitehall Terminal, possibly extending the service into midtown.
While the idea sounds great in theory, and will certainly foster a sense of “transit equality” for Staten Islanders who have a grueling commute (just ask our Editor-in-Chief, John Snyder), the route extension could prove problematic as there is currently no operating terminal in place in midtown, with the right infrastructure to handle such large vessels.
New York’s Ferry Boom
Of course, the Staten Island Ferry isn’t the only New York City ferry operation making waves. Operated by Hornblower NY, Citywide Ferry Service’s new fleet of ferries are currently under construction at Louisiana-based Metal Shark Boats and Alabama’s Horizon Shipbuilding. The contract catapults both yards into new markets—propelling Metal Shark into the commercial market in a very big way, and introducing Horizon to the ferry market.
A large portion of the Incat Crowther-designed ferries are expected to be delivered in time for Citywide Ferry Service’s launch Summer 2017. The service, according to the New York City Economic Development Corporation is projected to make 4.6 million trips annually.
The 85 ft ferries will have capacity for 150 passengers, as well as space for bikes, strollers and wheelchairs. The Citywide Ferry Service is expected to add five new routes on the East River.
Meanwhile, another well-known ferry operator in New York harbor is upping its stake in the market. Seastreak says its “raising the bar in fast passenger ferry service” with the addition of a new, high-speed, 600-passenger, catamaran in 2017. The ferry will be the highest passenger capacity USCG K-class high speed ferry in the U.S.
The addition of the new ferry will help Seastreak meet growing passenger demand on the New Jersey to New York route.
Designed by Incat Crowther, the ferry, the first in Seastreak’s new Commodore class, will be 147 ft 8 in x 39 ft 5 in. The vessel was designed to provide Seastreak with an operational advantage. The ferry’s boarding arrangement will include large forward and aft side gates as well as an adjustable bow ramp. This will help facilitate turnaround times at terminals.
The first vessel in the series will be built at Gulf Craft Shipyard, Franklin, LA. Construction is to be completed by 3rd quarter 2017. Meanwhile, Seastreak expects a keel to be laid for a second Commodore class vessel before the end of 2016.
The Commodore Class ferry will be powered by four MTU 12V4000 M64 EPA Tier III main engines, each delivering 1,875 hp at 1,800 rev/min and driving Rolls-Royce KaMeWa 63S4 waterjets. The vessel will also feature LED lighting and an advance energy efficient HVAC system.
The ferry’s main deck will hold 234- passengers; mid deck will seat 271 passengers inside and 52 passengers outside; and the third deck features 160 exterior seats as well as the vessel’s wheelhouse.
Seastreak is also initiating the upgrades and repowering of several members of its current operating fleet. First one up will be the Seastreak New York, which is expected to enter into drydock this coming winter. At press time, the bids were out to multiple yards. The repowering project is expected to be completed by the end of the 1st quarter 2017.
Florida gets in the game
New York isn’t the only city getting its ferry action on. This month, service officially begins on the Cross-Bay Ferry system—connecting St. Petersburg and Tampa, Fl. The service is part of a pilot project intended to introduce residents and visitors to water transit services in the area.
The route will be operated by the 98 ft twin-hull aluminum catamaran, Provincetown IV. The ferry was originally built for Bay State Cruise Company, Boston, MA, by Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, the Duclos Corporation, Somerset, MA. Designed by Incat Crowther, the 149-passenger ferry can operate at a top speed of up to 30 knots on the 50 minute route.
“We only have one vessel, and one crew, so we cannot do everything, but we do mean to showcase this technology to a lot of people and test ferry service in a variety of ways and markets,” said Ed Turanchik, policy advisor for the project.
Organizers of the project are testing the service on a variety of different market segments including tourist and local commuters, and the entertainment and sports markets. Learn more about the project at CrossBayFerry.com.
VDOT accepts ferry bids
Last month, the Virginia Department of Transportation was accepting bids for a new 70-vehicle ferry based on a design by Alion Science. The boat would be a replacement for the VDOT’s oldest ferry, the Virginia, built in 1936. Construction on the steel-hull ferry is to start this fall with completion in 2018.
Gladding Hearn delivers high-speed ferry
Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, the Duclos Corporation, recently delivered a new 493 –passenger, high-speed Incat Crowther designed ferry to Hy-Line Cruises, a division of Hyannis Harbor Tours, Inc., Hyannis, MA.
The all-aluminum ferry is 153.5 ft x 35.5 ft and is powered by four Cummins QSK60-M, EPA Tier 3 diesel engines each delivering 2,200 bhp at 1,800 rev/min. Each engine will power a Hamilton HM721 waterjet through a Twin Disc MG61500SC horizontally-offset gearbox.
Incat Crowther says the ferry represents an evolutionary step from its previous designs built by Gladding-Hearn. According to the designer, the capacity increase had to fit within docking constraints, enforcing upper limits on both the length and beam of the vessel. To meet the requirements, it moved the wheelhouse to a third deck, freeing up the front end of the second deck for VIP passengers.
The restructuring shifted boarding arrangements, with the addition of a middeck boarding door and both forward and aft stairways improving passenger flow and turnaround times, says Incat.
The ferry will provide year-round service between Hyannis and Nantucket Island. It will top speeds of over 34 knots when fully loaded at a deadweight of more than 64 tonnes, said Peter Duclos, President of Gladding-Hearn.
The new ferry is also outfitted with a Naiad Dynamic trim-tab, ride-control system to help improve passenger comfort and safety. The system’s motion sensor measures the relative movement of the vessel and transmits a signal to the hydraulic device to counter the boat’s actions through the waves.
Europe’s Ferry Market
The European ferry market remains in the forefront of technology. The continent that gave the world emission-free, battery operated ferries, will now give forth, the world’s largest hybrid ferry.
Just last month, Norway’s Color Line reported that it would order the largest hybrid ferry ever built. The ferry, which will feature batteries charged via green electricity from dedicated shore side facilities, or recharged on onboard via the ship’s generators, would double the capacity of the vessel it will replace.
Tentatively named the “Color Hybrid, the ferry will be 160 m long and have capacity for 2,000 passengers and up to 500 cars. The ferry is expected to be put into service on the Sandefjord, Norway to Stromstad, Sweden route in 2020.
And not to be outdone, Damen says its ready to launch its first composites-construction Water Bus. As we were going to press, the prototype was prepping to begin sea trials.
The Damen Water Bus is the first vessel for public transportation produced at Damen Shipyards, Antalya, Turkey. Its benefits are plentiful—the vessel, which features a slender hull, making it lighter than a traditional aluminum vessel, requires less fuel consumption, less maintenance, will suffer from no corrosion or fatigue problems. It can travel at speeds up to 21 knots and has capacity for 100 passengers.
Damen’s Design & Proposal Engineer, Fast Ferries, Marcel Elenbaas, explains that the Water Bus is built using high quality vacuum infusion technology that creates a “difficult to penetrate closed cell, epoxy sandwich structure.”
Damen says the vessel is ideal for highly congested urban areas, and is a simple and efficient way for using a city’s natural waterways system.
The Water Bus is equipped with two, forward facing, double-screw podded propulsion units—helping to reduce vibrations. Damen says the vessel can be easily adapted to customer specifications, and because of the nature of the composites’ production process, delivery to clients will be quick.
JULY 22, 2016—New York City is rediscovering and embracing its connection with the water. N.Y. Mayor Bill de Blasio’s vision to connect the city via an extensive ferry service network is a
“Anyone studying the growth of the city …cannot help but be struck by the fact that New York was first a port before it was anything else.” This William Bixby quote adorns the perimeter of South Street Seaport in New York. The city is one with a rich maritime history—operations on both the East and Hudson River have played a vital role in shaping the city and its people’s history—but its one often forgotten by most New Yorkers navigating their way through the hustle and bustle of the concrete jungle.
New York was originally the landmass south of Wall Street on the island of Manhattan, as time went on, however, New Yorkers began expanding out into the neighboring boroughs and eventually made their way to the suburbs. Today, Manhattan is still the city’s center with New Yorkers spending, on average, 40 minutes traveling to or from work each day, according to the New York Times —more than any other city in the United States. But one mode of transportation often not used by New Yorkers, are ferries operating on New York’s marine highway, the East River. Granted, most communities in the city’s five boroughs don’t have access to such ferry operations—except for Staten Island which has the government operated Staten Island Ferry, most ferry operations are private and confined to Manhattan and parts of Queens and Brooklyn—but that’s all about to change thanks to a partnership between the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and Hornblower, Inc.
Hornblower is no stranger to New York, the company’s subsidiary Statue Cruises currently provides transportation to the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island. Hornblower also debuted its New York Hornblower Hybrid, a ferry/luxury yacht, back in 2011.
Promising a fast, frequent and convenient service operating year round, the Citywide Ferry will bring a total of six routes that, when combined, will cover over 60 miles of waterways. The creation of the service will help meet growing waterfront community demand, and help lighten the load for an already overworked, overcrowded, and outdated MTA subway system.
Hornblower will have the option to purchase at least 17 new ferries, as well as chartering already existing ferries to help meet the system’s demand. Our sources tell us Hornblower will likely contract up to three shipyards, which will each build three to four ferries in the first round of construction. One of the shipyards is believed to be Metal Shark Aluminum Boats, Jeanerette, LA. It recently received a Small Shipyard Grant from the Maritime Administration for its Franklin, LA, shipyard.
The city is providing the service with $55 million in infrastructure upgrades—this includes the building of ten new ferry landings and the repair/refitting of six others. Additionally, the city will provide $10 million for startup costs, such as vessel upgrades and ticketing machines and $30 million in operation support per year for a period of six years.
NY Waterway’s East River Ferry boats are also to be fully integrated into the Citywide Ferry fleet. The transition is expected to be complete by the summer of 2017.
The Citywide Ferry service will roll out in two phases. Phase one will initiate service to Astoria, South Brooklyn and Rockaway in 2017. Phase two to Soundview (Bronx) and Lower East Side will launch in 2018.
The catamaran ferries, which will be based on an Incat Crowther design, say our sources, will carry at least 149 passengers, will be fully accessible to those with disabilities, will be equipped with WiFi, and will operate using low emission engines and “Low Wake” technology. The ferries will offer passengers 360 degree views, and LED screens will be fitted on board displaying information and entertainment.
The ferries, like its Staten Island ferry counterpart, will also offer food and beverage options on board.
However, unlike the Staten Island Ferry, which is free, the Citywide Ferry will cost passengers $2.75, the same price as a New York City Metro Card swipe on the city busses or Subway system.
Passengers however will not be able to transfer from the train/bus to the Citywide Ferry—meaning the service won’t be fully integrated with the NYC mass transit system. However, free transfers will be available between ferries. The ferries will operate from 6:30 am to 10 pm, seven days a week.
Ferry Landings for Citywide Ferry
A total of 10 ferry landings—the barges were designed by Blancke Marine Services, Woodbury, NJ, and the topside outfit by project design manager McLaren Engineering—will be built for the service, and are expected to be ready in time for the service’s launch in 2017. The barges for the landings are being built at May Ship Repair on Staten Island.The ferry landings will be 35 ft wide by 90 ft long.
The landings are being fabricated for Soundview, Bronx; Astoria, Queens; East 62nd Street, Manhattan; Roosevelt Island (between Manhattan and Queens); Long Island City, Queens; Stuyvesant Cove in Manhattan; Grand Street (Lower East Side Manhattan); Red Hook, Brooklyn; Bay Ridge, Brooklyn; and the Rockaways.
According to NYCEDC, upon completion, the landings will be equipped with canopies and wide screens to provide passengers a sheltered space from inclement weather. Additionally, the barges will feature ticket machines and waiting areas, allowing for minimal upload impact at the landing sites, says the NYCEDC.
Helping the waterfront community
The Citywide Ferry system is projected to add 155 new jobs to the New York Harbor. Additionally, the company will participate in the City’s HireNYC program which will match qualified applicants from neighborhood-based WorkForce1 training centers, meaning that the folks working at the landings will be qualified people from the communities.
Crews are expected earn more than $15 an hour and will also receive a comprehensive benefits package.
Further exemplifying its desire to highlight and foster the growth of the city’s maritime tradition, NYCEDC has partnered with a number of federal, state and city agencies to launch the Waterfront Navigator—a website that will serve as an official source of information for businesses and waterfront property owners seeking to learn what tools are available to them. In addition, the website, WaterfrontNavigator.NYC, will help facilitate environmental permit applications for waterfront construction.
NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer says that the “one-stop” user friendly website is where regulatory agencies from the federal, state and local levels joined forces to create a resource for simplified permit planning.
Staten Island Ferry
One constant presence on the New York Harbor has been the Staten Island Ferry (or at least some incarnation of it). Formal service on the route between Manhattan and Staten Island was established in 1817 under the Richmond Turnpike Company when it began sailing the steam-powered Nautilus. Eventually, the City of New York took over the operation in 1905 when it ordered five new ferries for the route, each named after the city’s five boroughs: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and Staten Island.
Since then, a number of new ferries have been built and retired for the now famous orange Staten Island fleet. Currently, the fleet is made up on nine ferries providing service to 22 million passengers a year. And with the population on the island growing, demand is high for a new series of ferries that provide faster, more efficient ride.
Earlier this year, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed that the NYC Department of Transportation (NYC DOT), the agency that runs the Staten Island Ferry operation would be ordering three new ferries for the route. This would enable the operator to retire three of the older ferries in the fleet including the 51-year-old John F. Kennedy, commissioned in 1965. Additionally, the S.I. Newhouse and Andrew J. Barberi, both commissioned in 1981 will also be put out of service. The two hold the distinction of having the highest passenger capacities, with room for 6,000 passengers.
The three new 320 ft x 70 ft ferries are designed by Seattle-based Elliott Bay Design Group, and are expected to bare a striking resemblance to the beloved Kennedy, with lots of open-air space. The ferries will also be double-ended and have capacity for 4,500 passengers.
The ferries, which will be built to ABS class requirements, will be powered by Tier 4 EMD engines and Voith Schneider Propulsion drives.
Glosten Inc. will act as the Owner’s Representative [Team] providing all construction management and oversight on behalf of the NYCDOT.
Industry Day Reveals Interested Parties
At the New Staten Island 4500 Class Ferry Industry Day event held last September at the Whitehall Terminal, the NYC DOT laid out details on the Ollis class project as well as its target dates.
The city operator expects for bids to be due 90 days after it was advertised (sometime in the 3rd Quarter of 2016)—we should note that as we were going to print, the NYC DOT released the Request for Bids (RFB) for construction of the ferries; and expects to issue a Notice to Proceed (NIP) contract start by the 4th Quarter of 2016. The NYCDOT expects all three vessels to be completed within 1,460 consecutive calendar days following NIP.
Looking at the Industry Day’s attendance sheet, one could wager a guess on what yards will be bidding on the project. Conrad Shipyards, Dakota Creek Industries, Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding, GD NASSCO, Leevac Shipyards, Vigor Industrial, and VT Halter Marine were all in attendance.
The first of the three new ferries, the Staff Sgt. Michael Ollis, is expected to begin operations in 2019. The ferry is named in honor of the late U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Michael Ollis, a native of the New Dorp area of Staten Island, who died while saving a Polish soldier in Afghanistan. He was only 24 years old at the time of his passing.
Vessels two and three in the Ollis Class are to be delivered later in 2019 and 2020.
FTA awards ferry grants, WETA expands
The Staten Island Ferry system will also get a boost from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Under its Passenger Ferry Grant Program a total of ten projects received a combined $59 million in funding. Of that, $6 million will go to the NYC DOT, which will use part of the funds to replace the deck scows (barges) for the Staten Island Ferry Dockbuilding Unit as well as upgrade the Staten Island Ferry Maintenance Facility Ramps and Racks.
The San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) was also a recipient of the FTA grants. Under the program, WETA will receive $4 million to expand berthing capacity at the Ferry Terminal from its current four berths to six, and the construction of three new ferry gates. According to WETA the expansion project is set to begin Summer 2017. WETA says the project will improve landside conditions at the Ferry Terminal by providing new amenities, such as weather-protected canopies, the construction of a new plaza area south of the Ferry building, the extension of pedestrian promenade areas and other public access improvements. The expansion will also enable WETA to stage emergency water transit services in the event of a regional transportation disruption or disaster.
“Improvements to the San Francisco Ferry Building ‘hub’ is a key element to expanding our services on the Bay, and validation of the important role ferry service will play in the future of the Bay Area’s transit infrastructure,” says Nina Rannells, Executive Director of WETA.
The improvements come at a time of growth for WETA. The ferry system in the Bay area has experienced a boost in ridership over the last few years and to help meet increasing passenger demands WETA has invested in both new ferries and is currently in the process of converting/refurbishing other members of the fleet.
Last April, the operator awarded Kvichak, a Vigor company, the contract to build two all-aluminum 400-passenger only ferries. The 135 ft x 38 ft catamarans, currently under construction—the hulls are being built by Kvichak and the superstructure is by Nichols Brothers Boat Builders, were designed by Australia’s Incat Crowther, and will be equipped with MTU 12V4000 M64+ EPA Tier III engines rated at 1,950 bhp at 1,830 rev/min. The engines, coupled to ZF7600 reduction gears, will enable the ferries to reach a top speed of 27 knots. Delivery of the ferries is expected to occur November 2016 and April 2017.
Beyond the newbuilds, WETA also has two of its existing ferries, the MV Intintoli and MV Gemini, undergoing upgrades at San Diego-based Marine Group Boat Works.
At press time, the MV Intintoli was nearly done undergoing a propulsion upgrade. Meanwhile, the MV Gemini is currently undergoing a minor refit to help improve vessel reliability and passenger amenities, according to WETA’s Ernest Sanchez. Among the improvement is the refurbishment of shafts, propellers and rudders, and the replacement of bearings; plus the overhaul of the Selective Catalyst Reduction System as well as the main engines, HVAC, electrical, plumbing, emission and fire and lifesaving safety systems.
The Gemini’s conversion from a Subchapter T to a Subchapter K ferry—means an increase in passenger capacity from 149 to 225 and an upgrade of the interior spaces. The MV Gemini project will be completed this summer.
WSF phases out older ferries
While New York City and San Francisco get ready to up the ferry ante, up in the Northwest, the largest ferry operator in the U.S., Washington State Ferries continues its newbuild program in the hopes of phasing out older members of its fleet and improving safety and efficiency. The ferry division of the Washington State Department of Transportation recently announced that construction has officially began on the state’s newest ferry, the Suquamish.
The keel was laid last month at Vigor’s Harbor Island Shipyard in Seattle, where Governor Jay Inslee, State Senator Christine Rolfes, and Suquamish Tribal Chairman Leonard Forsman struck ceremonial welds on to the keel—Inslee welded his granddaughter’s initials, Rolfes welded an orca whale, and Forsman welded a circle with a dot, an ancient design element found in the early Suquamish winter village.
The Suquamish is the fourth ferry in the Olympic Class, which was designed by Seattle-based Guido Perla & Associates, Inc., and is based on the Issaquah class design, WSF’s most versatile ferry. The Olympic class ferries each have capacity for 144 cars and 1,500 passengers.
While construction has officially started on the Suquamish, the third ferry in the class, the Chimacum, is about 75 percent complete. In April, Chimacum’s superstructure, built by Nichols Brothers Boat Builders, was joined to its hull at Vigor.
The Chimacum is expected to go into service on the Seattle/Bremerton route in 2017. WSF is expected to take delivery of the Suquamish in the Fall of 2018.
The total cost to build four Olympic Class ferries is $515.5 million.
The hope for WSF is to continue “investing in long-term ferry build programs” in order to keep up with increasing ridership numbers—WSF carries more than 23 million riders and 13 million cars, annually— in addition to replacing aging members of the fleet, said Matt Von Ruden, Director of vessels for WSF.
One of those aging vessels, the Hiyu was officially retired last month after nearly 50 years of service. Considered cute by many, it was even affectionately called “Baby Hiyu” by some, the ferry was tiny in size—only 162 ft long with a maximum capacity for 199 passengers and 34 vehicles—but lacked ADA accommodations and incurred high maintenance costs, rendering it obsolete.
“While the Hiyu was a good and dependable vessel, its tiny size means it is no longer the best option for moving passengers and commerce across the Puget Sound,” said Elizabeth Kosa, Washington State Ferries’ Chief of Staff. “The addition of modern, bigger and faster Olympic Class vessels to the fleet means its time to bid farewell to the Hiyu.”
Conrad christens MV Woods Hole for Steamship Authority
As we were going to press, the Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority was prepping to take delivery of its newest ferry, the M/V Woods Hole.
Built by Conrad Shipyard, the ferry, was christened on May 20th at Conrad Aluminum, Amelia, LA. Called a “beauty” and a “perfect example of the ships built by Conrad…quality in every detail,” by Project Manager Thomas Rachal, the ferry features state-of-the-art technology, WiFi stations, a snack area, and oversized reclining leather seats for passenger comfort.
The M/V Woods Hole, designed by Seattle-based Elliott Bay Design Group (EBDG), is 235 ft x 64 ft with a maximum draft at 10 ft 6 inches. It has a passenger (plus crew) capacity of 384, car capacity of 55 and the freight-vehicle deck is designed to carry ten 100,000 lb tractor-trailers.
It features a highly shaped bulbous bow to help minimize wave and improve fuel efficiency. Further improving efficiency are Becker high-lift rudders, which, when working in combination with the controllable pitch propeller system and vectorable bow thruster provide the ferry with high maneuverability in a small area.
Powering the M/V Woods Hole are a pair of MTU 16V4000 EPA Tier 3 engines providing 2,680 hp connected to Hundested controllable pitch propellers, generating service speeds of 12 to 14 knots and sprint speeds of 16 knots.
The ferry is expected to go into service sometime this month providing service between Woods Hole and Martha’s Vineyard.
Alaska Class Ferries Get Named
Meanwhile, another EBDG-designed ferry series, the new Alaska Class ferries being built for the Alaska Marine Highway System have officially been named. Following a call to students from Alaska’s Governor Bill Walker to submit essays on what the ferries names should be, two students, seventh grader Malea Voran and 10th grader Taylor Thompson, won the naming rights.
The two new ferries will be named Tazlina, which Voran explained in her essay was an Ahtna Athabaskan name that means “swift river”, and the Hubbard, after the Hubbard Glacier, which Thompson says “surpasses all others (glaciers) in its beauty and magnificence. A ferry named after it would surely do the same.” The Hubbard Glacier has actually thickened over the years as opposed to melting like its other glacier counterparts, making it an anomaly to the science community.
The 280 ft ferries are being built in modules by Vigor’s Ketchikan Alaska Shipyard. Once the modules are complete—with pipes, electric cable raceways and other systems installed—they will be set in place and attached to the ships.
The two-day boat Alaska Class ferries will seat up to 300 passengers and carry 53 standard size vehicles. Delivery is expected from the yard in 2018.
But like many ferry services in the U.S., the SSA’s workhorse fleet is aging. The nine vessels in the authority’s fleet have an average age of 30 years old. The 60-year-old Governor, which in a previous life served Governors Island in New York Harbor, will be replaced in 2017 by the M/V Woods Hole, a new ferry under construction at Conrad Shipyard in Morgan City, LA. Conrad Shipyard won the tender to build the ferry with a $36,448,000 million bid.
The ferry is designed by Elliott Bay Design Group (EBDG), Seattle, WA, whose name is synonymous with ferry design in the U.S. Besides the SSA ferry project, EBDG naval architects are currently working on the Alaska Class Day Boat, the Fisher Island ferry, and the Staten Island Ferry.
EBDG’s Brian King, Vice President of Engineering, says the construction of the new SSA ferry has now reached a significant construction milestone with the launching of the hull. The hull was launched upside down and then righted while in the water by use cranes. Pre-built superstructure assemblies are now being installed on the deck.
When MARINE LOG visited Conrad Shipyard in August, the Woods Hole had yet to be launched, but its highly shaped bulbous bow was in place.
When designing the Woods Hole, particular attention was focused on ship’s planned powering and seakeeping characteristics, as well as efficiency.
King says the ferry is designed to achieve sprint speeds of 16 knots but will more typically operate at 12 to 14 knots. The ferry’s highly shaped bulbous bow was designed to minimize wake and improve fuel efficiency. EBDG used Computational Fluid Design (CFD) analysis to optimize the hull and bulbous bow design.
The results of the CFD analysis was validated and further optimized in FORCE Technology’s towing tank in Denmark. While there are many fuel efficiency design features, the bulbous bow alone is estimated to provide fuel efficiency improvements of 3% over a conventional bow, according to King. Test results on a custom-made model built by FORCE Technology indicated that the vessel’s hull deign will be very efficient, requiring less than 2,500 hp to operate at a service speed of 14 knots, and that the vessel’s wake is expected to be minimal, even at speeds of 9 knots.
King says the Woods Hole has been specially designed to carry freight, but is also suited for walk-on passenger and car traffic. The freight-vehicle deck is designed to carry ten 100,000 lb tractor-trailers with straight through end-to-end loading. When not carrying a full load of tractor-trailers the freight-vehicle deck can accommodate approximately 55 standard passenger vehicles. Passenger plus crew capacity is 384.
The Woods Hole is 235 ft long, with a beam of 64 ft, and maximum draft is limited to 10 ft 6 in. at full load due to port restrictions. For simplified maintenance and crew oversight, passenger accommodations are all on a single deck above the freight deck with seating indoors and outside. Food service, Wifi, cell service and television will be provided. Crew accommodations are located on the deck above the passenger deck located behind the wheelhouse, which has been elevated for excellent visibility all around.
The main propulsion power is supplied by two EPA Tier 3-compliant, 2,680-hp MTU 16V4000 engines connected to Hundested controllable pitch propellers. Controllable pitch was chosen to allow propeller pitch and shaft RPM combinations that provide excellent low speed maneuvering responsiveness and still provide optimized fuel efficiency at all speeds.
Radiated noise is minimized through use of resiliently mounted main engines and generators and critical grade silencers.
Fuel, oil and waste tanks are all safely isolated from the hull.
Maneuverability and efficiency
King says that special attention has been devoted to fuel efficiency, least environmental impact and low speed maneuvering. For maneuvering and steering, the ferry will be fitted with Becker high-lift rudders located in line with the propeller shafts to improve fuel efficiency. A vectorable Tees—White Gill bow thruster in combination with the controllable pitch propeller system and high lift rudders will provide the Woods Hole with extremely good maneuverability in a tight quarters. King says the bow thruster, rudders, and CP system will also allow the ferry to turnaround and accelerate with very little wake wash.
The Woods Hole is expected to be delivered in May 2016 and enter service in 2017.
New ferry for Texas
When you are driving on Texas State Highway 361, the only way to get across Corpus Christi Channel from Aransas Pass to Port Aransas, is by the Port Aransas ferry. The ferry service runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The quarter-mile route typically takes less than 10 minutes across, although peak summer hours may require drivers to wait longer.
Each ferry can carry up to 20 regular passenger vehicles. Combined vehicles, such as a truck towing a boat, may not be longer than 80 feet, wider than 13 feet or taller than 13 feet 6 inches. Single-axle vehicles may weigh no more than 20,000 pounds, tandem axles no more than 34,000 pounds and combination vehicles may not exceed a total of 80,000 pounds.
The ferries are owned by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), which recently awarded a contract to Southwest Shipyard, Houston, TX, to construct a 28-car ferry. When delivered in February 2017, the new ferry will be the third of a class designed by EBDG. EBDG, which will act as the owner’s representative for the project when construction begins this fall, signed a deal with TxDOT in 2014 to provide four years of on-call service. This is the first contract under the service agreement.
Unlike the two previous ferries built to this design and delivered in 2011, the new ferry will be a diesel-electric ferry. It will be classed by ABS and will have a length of 161 feet overall, a beam of 52 feet, a depth of approximately 11 feet and a draft of 8 feet.
Design updates to the interior, including the propulsion system, will translate into a vessel that has greater built-in redundancy and requires less maintenance over its lifetime.
North Carolina DOT looks at adding passenger-only ferry
Meanwhile, North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) is conducting a Passenger Feasibility Study that could lead to a new passenger-only ferry service between Hatteras Village and Oracoke’s Silver Harbor by the summer of 2017. The new service would start with either two 80-passenger ferries or one 150-passenger vessel. The passenger-only ferries would be in addition to the Ferry Division’s current car ferry service.
The passenger-only ferry service is seen as a possible way to boost tourism to Oracoke Island, which has seen a 250,000 visitor drop off from its peak of about 1 million in 2007. The passenger-only ferry service will also reduce long lines of autos during the summer for the car ferries. Parking on the island is scarce, too.
The study says the new ferry service would make four round trips per day, carrying 125,000 passengers in the first year at a cost of $15 per round trip. New visitor spending would reach $500,000 in the first year.
By 2020, the construction of permanent docking terminals would be complete and additional passenger-only vessels would be added.
This past summer, the NCDOT Ferry Division held meetings in Oracoke and Hatteras to gather the public’s input.
The passenger ferries would drop visitors off directly in Ocracoke Village, where Hyde County would provide tram service around the village and to attractions such as the Ocracoke Lighthouse and the British Cemetery.
“There are a lot of moving parts here, but if they all come together, this could solve a lot of the issues for Ocracoke visitation,” says Ferry Division Director Ed Goodwin. “It would ease the backups we have on the car ferry route, and bring more visitors with fewer cars into the village. On the surface, it seems like a win-win all around.”
Other solutions are included in the study as well, such as year-round dredging of the now-closed “short” car ferry route, putting more car ferries into service on the current route, or loading more walk-on passengers onto the existing departures. But each of those comes with its own expense and logistical issues.
The Passenger Ferry Feasibility Study being conducted by Volkert Inc., Raleigh, NC, for the state began earlier this year and has included test runs of the possible ferry route, passenger surveys, and meetings with the public and stakeholders. It has also identified the kind of infrastructure and parking improvements that would be needed before service begins. The study is due to be completed by the end of this year.
Staten Island Ferry draws interest
Any time you board the Staten Island ferry at the Whitehall Ferry Terminal in lower Manhattan for the five-mile trip across New York Harbor, you are bound to hear at least four different languages spoken by your fellow passengers. The iconic orange ferry fleet is one of the city’s biggest annual tourist attractions, providing a free ride with priceless views of Governors Island, Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty and the Verrazano Bridge. The New York City Department of Transportation, owner and operator of the fleet, is in the process of developing a new class of boats to replace the 1965-built John F. Kennedy and the 1980’s vintage Andrew J. Barberi and Samuel I. Newhouse.
NYCDOT held an industry day on September 16 in New York outlining the project scope, bid process, and development and construction timeline for the 4,500-passenger New Kennedy Class ferries for the Staten Island Ferry. EBDG, lead naval architect on the project was on hand, along with representatives from Conrad Shipyard, Morgan City, LA, Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding, Sturgeon Bay, WI, Eastern Shipbuilding, Panama City, FL, VT Halter Marine, Pascagoula, MS, Dakota Creek Industries, Anacortes, WA, Leevac Shipyards, Jennings, LA, Vigor Industrial, Portland, OR, and General Dynamics NASSCO, San Diego, CA, and some key suppliers.
The city has received funding of $309 million towards the three boats, which will be 320 ft long by 70 ft, with EPA Tier 4 compliant diesel engines and a Voith Schneider propulsion system. The ferries are expected to retain some of the design elements of the beloved Kennedy Class, while incorporating energy and fuel-saving technologies.
Once the construction contract is finalized in the fourth quarter of 2016, all three ferries must be completed within a four-year time frame.
Expanding East River ferry service
Some of New York Mayor Bill deBlasio’s policies and initiatives have been downright forehead slapping. His handling of the homeless and push towards removing horse-drawn carriages from city streets have been baffling. His consideration of tearing up pedestrian plazas in Times Square to reopen up them to vehicle traffic as a means of removing painted topless women from the area is just plain dumb.
But the Mayor should be given credit for announcing the launching of expanded citywide ferry services in 2017 and 2018 that would connect neighborhoods that are “starved of adequate mass transit,” in the words of State Senator Michael Gianaris. The expanded ferry services across the East River to Astoria, the Rockaways, South Brooklyn, the Lower East Side and Soundview would run seven days a week and cost $2.75 each way—the same as a city subway or bus. Future service would connect Coney Island and the Stapleton section of Staten Island.
Washington State gets funding for fourth ferry
The good news for Washington State Ferries is that this past summer Washington Governor Islee approved $122 million in the state budget for the construction of a badly needed fourth 144-car Olympic Class ferry.
WSF is building new Olympic Class ferries to replace some of the fleet’s oldest vessels. The Olympic Class design is based on the Issaquah class—the same ferries that have been the subject of a proposed midlife conversion to burn Liquefied Natural Gas.
Designed by Seattle-based Guido Perla & Associates, Inc., the Olympic Class vessels have a capacity of 144 cars and 1,500 passengers and are 362 ft 3 in long x 83 ft 2 in wide. Main propulsion is by two Electro-Motive Diesel engines developing a total 6,000 hp and giving the vessels a speed of 17 knots.
Two of the Olympic Class ferries, the Tokitae and Samish, are in service, and a third is under construction at Vigor in Seattle for delivery in 2017. As in the first two ferries, Nichols Brothers Boat Builders, Whidbey Island, WA, is building the superstructure. The fourth is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2018.
WSF is building new vessels to replace our 1950s-era Evergreen State Class ferries. Nine of 24 vessels in its fleet are between 40 and 60 years old. These older ferries are approaching the end of their service lives and must be replaced with newer ones in the coming years.
New King County ferry starts service
King County’s newest vessel, the M/V Doc Maynard, started service on the Vashon route on September 29 sailing from Pier 50. The ferry replaced her sister ship, the M/V Sally Fox, which is being removed from service for scheduled warranty work.
Both the Sally Fox and Doc Maynard will built by All American Marine, Inc. (AAM), Bellingham, WA. The 105 ft x 33 ft aluminum catamaran ferries are the first U.S. Coast Guard Sub-chapter “K” inspected passenger vessels built and delivered under new guidelines that make it possible for boat builders to design and implement suitable structural fire protection in very low fire load spaces in the construction of weight-sensitive high speed passenger vessels.
AAM partnered with naval architecture firm, Teknicraft Design Ltd., of Auckland, New Zealand for the hull design. The advanced hull shape was custom designed using digital modeling and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis testing.
The hull design is complemented by Teknicraft’s signature integration of a wave piercer positioned between the catamaran sponsons to break up wave action and ensure reduced drag while enhancing passenger comfort.
All American Marine is the exclusive builder for Teknicraft Design Ltd. catamarans in North America.
Each ferry is powered by two Cummins QSK-50 Tier 3 diesel engines, rated at 1,800 bhp at 1,900 rev/min and driving twin propellers to provide a service speed of 28 knots.
The ferries also burn a 10 percent biodiesel blend and have LED lighting onboard.
The design features interior seating for 250 with 28 additional outdoor seats available on the upper aft deck.
With traffic congestion on roads and bridges continuing to plague area commuters, King County is also exploring a plan to possibly add ferry service on Lake Washington, something that has happened since the 1950s.
MARINE LOG FERRIES 2015 Exclusive: Tour the new boat
All American Marine is sponsoring a tour of the Doc Maynard at MARINE LOG’S FERRIES 2015 Conference & Expo, set for November 5-6, 2015 at the Hyatt Olive 8 in Seattle. As part of the tour, Joe Hudspeth, Vice President of Business Development, All American Marine and Paul Brodeur, Director of King County Marine Division, will jointly discuss the features and capabilities of the new ferries. Those interested in the tour should sign up early as space is limited. See marinelog.com/ferries for more details.
-By John R. Snyder, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief
OCTOBER 25, 2014—New York City’s plans for the convert one of its smaller ferries to burn Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) are moving ahead, after the city’s Department of Transportation (NYCDOT), Division of
SEPTEMBER 17, 2014—The Staten Island Ferry got a big boost today in the form of a $191.6 million federal grant that will fund the construction of two new 4,500–passenger ferries, harden ferry