Rolls-Royce waterjets favoured for fast ferries

Friday, 18 May 2007

Rolls-Royce waterjets will propel a series of ten catamaran ferries for a Hong Kong - Macau link.

Venetian Marketing Services Ltd (VMSL) has ordered ten fast catamarans to provide a luxury ferry service between Hong Kong locations and the new Pac On terminal being built by the Macau government to serve the Cotai Strip in Macau. The ferries are designed by Austal and will be built at their yard in Western Australia, with a very tight delivery schedule in 2007 and 2008. They will be called The Cotai Strip Waterjet fleet.

Each of the ferries will carry up to 411 passengers. Accommodation will be on two decks, with overhead lockers for hand baggage and storage for heavier luggage. There will be on-board hotel check-in to make life easier for visitors to the Cotai Strip and the new hotel that Venetian is to open this year.

To provide these 47.5m catamarans with their 42 knot service speed, each vessel is to have four main engines rated at 2,320kW, coupled through gearboxes to four Rolls-Royce Kamewa 63 SII waterjets.

These waters are home to some of the world’s most intensive fast ferry routes and Austal has already contributed 36 fast catamarans to the region, all propelled by Rolls-Royce waterjets.

In addition to the ten vessels for Venetian, even more are to follow. Austal has won a contract to build two 47.5m catamarans for New World First Ferry Services (Macau) to operate between Macau and Tsim Sha Tsui in Hong Kong. When they go into service in 2008 they will each provide comfortable transport for 418 passengers at more than 42 knots. They follow five earlier Austal catamarans for the same owner, and they are to be built at a shipyard in Tasmania that was recently acquired by Austal. Four Kamewa 63 SII waterjets will be fitted per vessel, each driven by its own diesel engine for a total installed power of 9,280kW.

In America, the first of two large fast ferries has been launched at Austal’s US yard in Mobile, Alabama. The 106m long high speed catamaran passenger vehicle ferry is for Hawaiian Superferry. On completion, it will establish a new service connecting Honolulu to Maui and Kauai and Honolulu to Big Island, with a transit time of about three and four hours respectively.

Continuing the connection between Austal and Rolls-Royce, this large aluminium vessel will be propelled by four Kamewa 125 SII waterjets, two per hull, with individual drive lines and four 8,200kW main engines, which should give a speed of 35 knots at 95% MCR and 400 tonnes load.

Two decks are avilable for vehicles, either 282 cars or a mix of cars and trucks, for example 28 twelve metre trucks and 65 cars. The passenger deck is above the vehicle decks, with seating and full facilities for 866 passengers.

Austal’s purpose-built yard in the USA has produced several smaller catamarans and monohulls, but the Hawaiian Superferry catamarans are the largest vessels so far.

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