Brazil World Cup, Olympics, Ferries on Order From China

By George Backwell at September 14, 2013 00:48
Filed Under: drive systems, Ferries

Brazil World Cup 2014 and Olympics 2016 visitors will be able to sail between venues on a fleet of seven big new 2000-seat fast ferry catamarans designed for the job by Holland’s CoCo Yachts and to be built for Rio de Janeiro State by the Afai Southern Shipyard in China. Henk van Herwijnen, General Manager of CoCo Yachts says that the ferrys between Rio de Janeiro and Niterói are expected to carry 100,000 passengers every day, increasing to 150,000 during the international sports events.

Rio de Janeiro Ferry: Rendering courtesy of CoCo Yachts

People-moving on this scale demands a well-proven propulsion system that for the sake of the passengers is relatively noise-free, provides precision manoeuvrability, and takes up as little space in the fitting as possible. Veth Propulsion (also of Holland) came closest to meeting these demands at the right price and landed a contract to deliver four counter-rotating  Z-drives, type VZ-700-CR (700 kW/1800 rpm) for each of the new ferries, adding up to a grand total of 28 propulsion units.

It’s fairly well-known that the Z-drive eliminates the need of a conventional rudder, replacing it with an underwater pod able to rotate through 360° which gives it the excellent manoeuvrability needed for a ferry. Apart from a standard yet flexibly-mounted Z-drive design,  Veth Propulsion’s unit has a counter-rotating system (CR) which combines high efficiency with small propeller diameters.  Within a CR unit both propellers rotate in opposite directions, so that the second propeller compensates for the turbulent flow of water caused by the first propeller, and in combination they significantly reduce noisy and inefficient propeller cavitation.

Veth-Z-Drive: Image courtesy of Veth Propulsion

The manufacturers say that the optimum number of revolutions is about 20% less than a single propeller or two rotating in the same direction. These Veth-Z-Drive propellers are mounted on opposite sides of the hydrodynamic streamlined underwater gearbox creating a more solid bearing and secure sealing system.

The contract value of the whole project is said to be about US$ 110-million, including design and construction. Six of the ferries will burn diesel oil, and the seventh is to  be equipped with dual-fuel engines capable of using MDO or LNG.

Main particulars

    •    Length o.a. : 78.40 m
    •    Beam o.a. : 14.8 m
    •    Draft:  1.8 m
    •    Capacity: 2000 passengers / 8 crew
    •    Propulsion: Veth Propulsion
    •    Power units: to be announced
    •    Speed: 18 knots

The first ferry is due to be delivered in November 2014 and the remaining vessels bi-monthly.



A first-of-type HSC Catamaran Fast Crew Boat offering exceptional comfort and operational flexibility

By Peter Pospiech at September 12, 2013 05:16
Filed Under: Company News, Offshore, Shipyards, Workboats

Incat Crowther, Australia, has announced a first of type 70m Catamaran Fast Crew Boat (FCB), compliant with IMO HSC code and complete with a crew transfer system consisting of dynamic positioning equipment class (DP2) coupled with a stabilized access platform. Construction of the vessel has commenced at the shipbuilder Incat Tasmania, with delivery scheduled for September 2014. The new crew transfer vessels will be delivered to Caspian Marine Services Ltd (CMS) in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The vessel will operate as a fast crew transfer vessel for 150 offshore workers to multiple offshore installations. The hull design has been optimized for high speed transits with specific features to limit the sea sickness of transiting offshore workers. The on-board noise, vibration and indoor climate is in accordance with DNV comfort class notation. The vessel is designed to operate in sea conditions of 40 knot wind and seas of 3m significant wave height. 

The high speed of the 70m FCB allows operational cost efficiency over helicopter transfer for passengers and cargo, whilst the advanced design ensures the crew arrive at the platform fit for work.

Crew transfer is completed primarily by a stabilized access platform, providing a level platform and gangway to access the offshore platform from the vessel. The access platform compensates for the vessels motion by using 6 hydraulic cylinders. The vessel will hold station using dynamic positioning (DNV DYNPOS-AUTR), and in combination with the stabilized access platform, crew transfers will be performed in up to sea state 4.

This vessel is the first catamaran to utilize this system and the first to have the stabilized access platform structure and supporting systems integrated into the design. For redundancy and operations in higher sea conditions, a crane lifted personnel transfer system is provided for up to 2 groups of 9 offshore workers.

Whilst the primary function of the ship is crew transfer, the vessels arrangement provides flexibility with over 100 square meters of cargo deck, rated at 2t/m2. This capacity will allow the vessel to complete cargo hot shots for up to 110 tonnes of specialized equipment to a range of 300nm at speeds up to 35 knots.

The high level of passenger comfort on the 70m FCB will be achieved by the vessel’s advanced semi-SWATH hull form, combined with a resiliently mounted main cabin and superstructure and active ride control system consisting of T-Foil, interceptors and yaw stabilisers.

Four MTU 16V4000 engines will power the vessel driving Hamilton HT-900 water jet propulsion with a service speed of 30 knots at full load condition and 90% MCR in sea state 4. Four azimuthing drop-down thrusters forward will take care of maneuvering, with the vessel having DP-2 equivalent DNV classification.

Safety of operation and environmental protection is a high priority; subsequently the environmental impact of the vessel’s emissions to air, discharges to sea, deliveries to shore from the vessel and protection against accidents are controlled and designed in accordance with environmental class. The safety of vessels operation is prioritized by the bridge design and navigational equipment compliance with nautical safety class.

Source/Image: courtesy of Incat Crowther

Fleet in service – exploit its potential, control costs: Increase of load draft

By Peter Pospiech at September 10, 2013 07:16
Filed Under: Company News, General

Vessels of the today’s fleet in service may be modified by increasing the load draft to improve the capacity. This results in a more efficient ships operation that is particularly worth at slow steaming and with heavy container loads.

The plimsoll line

If load draft and load capacity are increased at unchanged ships power the energy consumption per ton load is reduced – and causes therefore a better efficiency. For this only the plimsoll line must be changed. This relatively simple process can be done easily during the next survey and / or often during normal operation. At vessels with ice-class it’s important to consider that an increase of load draft normally comes to a downgrading or even a nullity of the mentioned ice-class for the new load draft. Before an implementation takes place the procedure of a feasibility study is highly recommendable to ensure that the load draft of the affected ship really can be increased. With this, the hull stability for the increased load draft should be done. Furthermore the freeboard must be calculated new, including the check of the locking status. Finally the damage and intact stability should be checked. The increase of load draft can be done in a relatively short period of time after a positive valuation. If a vessel is not fully loaded it must take ballast water to reach an average load draft. The fuel consumption therefore can be kept constant and is not subject for fluctuations caused by heavy seaway.

This measure is particularly suitable for container and multipurpose ships. Based on the very little investment costs and the very fast amortization it is worth also for vessels with advanced years.


Source/Image: GL / courtesy of PPM News Service Maritim

Marine Diesel Exhaust Gas Emissions: Bulk Carrier 2015 ECA Ready

By George Backwell at September 06, 2013 23:05
Filed Under: Marine Diesel Engines, Scrubbers

Clean Marine’s Exhaust Gas Cleaning System (EGCS, or more informally ‘scrubber system’) fitted to Torvald Klaveness’ bulk carrier MV Balder is the first, say the manufacturers, to operate this type of system inside the US Emission Control Area (ECA). The ship’s master obtained prior permission from the US Coast Guard to enter and exit the zone burning its normal Heavy Fuel Oil, with diesel engine exhaust gasses scrubbed by the EGCS, rather than burning the more expensive Low Sulphur Fuel Oil (1% Sulphur content).

Bulk carrier MV Balder:
Photo courtesy of Clean Marine

Subsequently, officials from the U.S. Coast Guard and EPA, conducted a Port State Control examination in Baltimore and confirmed that the installed Clean Marine EGCS was operating satisfactorily and in full compliance with MARPOL Annex VI as an alternative to burning low sulphur fuel oil as set out in the vessel’s  International Air Pollution Prevention Certificate.  MV Balder thus already complies with the much stricter 2015 emission regulation when operating in Europe and North America ECA’s.

Features of the patented Clean Marine EGCS
The manufacturers say it is the only system currently on the market with true multi-stream exhaust gas handling with all exhaust sources onboard – including boilers – served by one common EGC unit without any increase in back pressure. This (cost saving) feature is achieved by employing two fans and a gas recirculation mechanism integrated into the EGC unit, which ensures that pressure at the common gas meeting point is maintained at ambient level, irrespective of the amount of  exhaust fed to the system.

Installation in 'MV Balder' (10MW): Rendering courtesy of Clean Marine

Clean Marine say that their open or closed loop (hybrid) wet scrubbing system differs from other systems in that it uses caustic soda in both modes, which means vessels can operate in  all  types of  water (including low alkaline and saline water)  in either mode and without loss of efficiency. Furthermore, the use of caustic soda enables this EGCS to meet the current pH limit for wash-water discharges with a good margin in hand.

It appears that this scrubber system is not only efficient in sulphur separation but is also a formidable opponent of exhaust gas particulate matter (popularly, soot) filtered out as the exhaust passes through Clean Marine’s high speed ‘Advanced Vortex Chamber’ trapping mechanism.

Located in Oslo, Norway, the company was formed in 2006 and adds that they hace invested more than US$20-million in pioneering and patenting their multi-stream hybrid EGCS system development.



Universal oils are not unrestricted usable

By Peter Pospiech at September 05, 2013 09:27
Filed Under: Company News, Fuels & Lubes, MAN Diesel&Turbo

At slow steaming cold corrosion can occur – Castrol sees concerns by specifications given from the engine manufacturers confirmed.

Many shipping owners go for slow steaming. But to avoid long term damages by slow steaming particular adjustments must be done. One aspect is the use of optimized lubricating oils. A possible problem is cold corrosion. The lubricating oil manufacturer, e.g., Castrol Marine assumes that, during slow steaming, cold corrosion can happen if lube oils with lower base numbers (BN) come together with fuels with higher sulphur content. “We always point out that oils with lower BN are unsuitable for slow steaming with modern diesel engines. Both market leading OEM’s have now created specific guide lines, which go along with our experiences”, says Castrol manager Paul Harrold. They recommend their customers to coordinate the use of lube oils with engine type and working conditions. Last May Castrol presented some case studies. These figures underline the experience that lube oils with a higher BN reduce the corrosive wear and also lower the consumption. Also MAN and Wärtsilä made the same experiences. The Finnish engine manufacturer withdraw recently the permission for many of their engine types which rund on heavy fuel oils with a sulphur content above 2.5 %, says Castrol. “According to the latest declaration of no-objection for suppliers lube oils in the middle BN-area may be used on all Wärtsilä RTA-, RT-flex and W-Xengines as well as on Sulzer 2-stroke engines with heavy fuels and sulphur content of not more than 0.5%”.

Marine engines should be adjusted for the permanent slow steaming operation


“MAN Diesel&Turbo already has withdrawn cylinder oils in the middle BN-class out of their permission list”, says David Goosey, CEO and sales manager of Castrol Marine. “With this limitation done by Wärtsilä, the use of lube oils in the middle BN-class, is quasi excluded for fuels used on engines outside the ECA’s.”


image: PPM News Service


Littoral Combat Ship Coronado (LCS 4) Completes Acceptance Trials

By Peter Pospiech at September 03, 2013 11:28
Filed Under: Company News, General, Navy News, Shipyards

Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship Coronado (LCS 4) successfully completed Acceptance Trials (AT) on August 23, 2013, in the Gulf of Mexico. This milestone achievement involved the execution of intense comprehensive tests by the Navy while underway, which demonstrated the successful operation of the ship’s major systems and equipment. This is the last significant milestone before delivery of the ship, which is expected in September. 

The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) is a fast, agile, focused-mission platform designed for operation in near-shore environments yet capable of open-ocean operation. This vessel is the second of twelve, 127-meter Independence-variant LCS class ships Austal has been contracted to build for the U.S. Navy (including USS Independence (LCS 2), delivered to the Navy in 2009). The final 10 of the 12 were awarded to Austal as prime contractor subsequent to a $3.5 billion block buy in 2010. 

Austal’s teaming partner, General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems (a business unit of General Dynamics) is the ship systems integrator, responsible for the design, integration and testing of the navigation systems, C4I, and aviation systems. The ships' highly flexible open architecture computing infrastructure (OPEN CI), designed, developed, and integrated by General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, allows "plug and play" integration of both the core systems and the LCS mission modules.  It is designed to the Navy’s open architecture requirements, strictly adheres to published industry standards and facilitates the integration of commercially available products.

The LCS program is in full swing at Austal USA with five ships under construction at this time. Coronado (LCS 4) will soon be followed by Jackson (LCS 6) which will launch at the end of the year and Montgomery (LCS 8), which is being assembled after celebrating its keel laying ceremony on June 25. Construction is well underway on Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) along with Omaha (LCS 12) which just started construction last month. 

Austal has also been contracted by the U.S. Navy to build ten, 103-meter JHSVs under a 10-ship, $1.6 billion contract. Two of the ten have already been delivered. Austal continues to make steady forward progress on the JHSV program as USNS Millinocket (JHSV 3) prepares for Builder’s Sea Trials in the fall and will be delivered to the Navy later this year. Construction on Fall River (JHSV 4) and Trenton (JHSV 5) is also well underway in Austal’s Mobile, Ala. shipyard.


image: courtesy of Austal

King-Size Outboard: Schottel Redesign Classic NAV Propulsion Unit

By George Backwell at August 31, 2013 00:02
Filed Under: LPG, Methanol Fuel

The Schottel Navigator (NAV) has become a byword over the past 50 years for a reliable and compact propulsion unit suitable for use on an extremely diverse range of vessels including almost every kind of floating object, especially barges, ferries, working boats or floating cranes. In principle the NAV is a large scale mobile outboard plant, providing a vessel with 360 degrees steerable manoeuvrability. The manufacturers say they are soon to launch a new  generation of Navigators and the NAV 200 makes its debut at the upcoming Europort 2013 Technology Expo.

Grab dredger with 2 x Schottel NAV 110 (146 kW each): Photo courtesy of Schottel

For those who haven’t come across one, the NAV is an adaptation of the Schottel Rudderpropeller plus an engine and related equipment while the the unit’s base frame accommodates the daily fuel tank, which, for example, has a capacity of about 600 litres on the NAV 200. Installation is simple:  the Navigator merely has to be bolted onto a foundation prepared by the shipyard.

Modern and reduced-emission diesel engines from MAN or Caterpillar supply the input power to the propeller, ranging from 190 kW (NAV 0320) to 746 kW (NAV 550) and the switch cabinet includes electrical and electronic monitoring elements. The clutch between the prime mover and the Rudderpropeller transmits the power through a flexible coupling and a universal shaft which allows the propeller to be raised and lowered in a vertical direction and also pivoted to the rear.

Schottel explain that all NAV variants can also be supplied with a ducted propeller, and Rudderpropellers without nozzles are fitted with an anti- cavitation plate over the propeller to prevent air intake.

New Generation NAV Propulsion Unit Variants

New generation Schottel Navigator: Image courtesy of Schottel

The manufacturers also offer various product variants with the new generation of Navigators, all with a slimmer design: the NAV Basic, NAV Offshore and NAV Soundproof (the two latter versions can be combined) as follows:

The NAV Basic comprises the diesel engine, the exhaust gas system, the engine piping and cabling, and the daily fuel tank embedded in the base frame construction. Furthermore, this plant is protected by a steel sheet canopy painted to the customer’s specifications. The shipyard only has to provide the connections for fuel to the main tank, for electric connection to the bridge and for cooling water, if required.

For demanding offshore conditions the NAV Offshore is characterised by an enclosed version of the canopy with the frame, canopy and doors galvanised to prevent corrosion, and the upper part of the Rudderpropeller can also be protected by an additional cover. The interior is cooled by an extra ventilation system.

The sound-insulated version consists of an enclosed, insulated canopy, thereby reducing the level of air-borne noise to a mere of about 85 dB(A) at a distance of one metre. For special vessel applications reduction of the structure-borne noise may be necessary the manufacturers offer resilient mounting of the NAV and the thrust bearing.



Cavotec demonstrates benefits of shore power at Swedish port of Ystad

By Peter Pospiech at August 29, 2013 07:12
Filed Under:

Global engineering group Cavotec recently co-hosted a community and business outreach event at the Port of Ystad in southern Sweden, during which one of the Group’s shore-to-ship power systems experts delivered a seminar on the environmental and economic benefits of shore power. 

The event was co-hosted by Cavotec, power and automation conglomerate ABB, the Port of Ystad, electrical systems specialist Processkontroll Elektriska, technical consultancy Grontmij, as well as Polferries and Unity Line. 

Last year, the Port of Ystad became the latest in a growing number of Swedish ports to adopt shore power connection for ships. The application at Ystad is one of the largest high voltage shore power systems in the world. 

“Ports in Sweden, and around the world, are facing intensifying pressure, both in the form of legal requirements and public sentiment, to reduce emissions from ships. Our Alternative Maritime Power (AMP) technologies enable ports and shipping lines to meet this challenge,” says Erik Chiló, Cavotec Regional Manager for Northern Europe.

Chiló was among several speakers at the two-day event. On day one, representatives from the event’s co-hosts delivered presentations on how shore power makes ports cleaner and more cost effective. The presentations were followed by a demonstration of one of the systems in operation. 

Day two, saw the Port of Ystad open its doors to the public, for a range of activities that showed how the port operates and the steps it is taking to reduce environmental impact. 

The Ystad installation incorporates four passenger ferry berths used by Polferries and Unity Line for sailings to the Polish city of Świnoujście. Working closely with ABB and Processkontroll Elektriska, Cavotec supplied the cable management systems at Ystad that enable vessels to connect to the local electricity grid while docked, thus reducing particulate matter emissions and so improving air quality in the port and surrounding communities.

As well as Ystad, the Port of Stockholm, Gothenborg, Trelleborg and Karlskrona all use Cavotec AMP systems. The first such application came on line in the ports of Gothenburg and Stockholm in the 1980s. The Group’s shore power systems are also increasingly widely used at ports on the US west coast, as well as in Canada, Europe and the Far East.

Cavotec AMP systems enable ships to switch off their engines while docked and to connect to shore side electricity. Services such as power supply for reefer containers, lighting, heating, food preparation and cargo handling are then run directly from the port. Switching off ships’ engines and connecting to grid-generated electricity reduces fuel consumption and dramatically cuts emissions.


Images: Courtesy of Ystad Port and Cavotec

Wärtsilä delivers dual-fuel engines to Danish environmentally sound ferry

By Peter Pospiech at August 27, 2013 08:26
Filed Under: Company News, Ferries, Fuels & Lubes, LNG fuel, Shipyards

This order is for the first Danish ferry to be operated on LNG fuel. The ferry project sets an environmental benchmark for inland ferries, and is being closely followed by other municipalities and governmental bodies in Denmark and abroad.

Wärtsilä, is to supply the main propulsion generating sets for a new, environmentally sound, double ended ferry. The ship, which is the first gas fuelled ferry for a domestic route in Denmark, will operate between Jutland and the island of Samsø and will carry passengers, cars and trucks. The vessel, designed by the Danish OSK-ShipTech A/S, will be built for the Danish municipality Samsø Kommune by Remontowa Shipbuilding S.A. in Gdansk, Poland. Wärtsilä signed the contract in June.

Rendering of the new ferry

The ferry will be powered by four Wärtsilä 20DF dual-fuel engines running on natural gas and will have extremely low emission levels. The dual-fuel engine technology pioneered by Wärtsilä allows a seamless switch to conventional marine fuels if necessary, thus providing the operator with a high level of redundancy. The new ferry project is considered as being a state-of-the-art endeavour by setting an environmental benchmark for inland ferries, and is being closely followed by other municipalities and governmental bodies in Denmark and abroad. Samsø Kommune actively promotes environmental sustainability through its ‘Green Island’ image featuring renewable energy, low pollution and recycling activities. The vessel is scheduled to be operational in autumn 2014.

The new ferry will be one of the smallest ships to be powered by Wärtsilä 20DF engines. It is also the first Danish ferry to be operated on natural gas fuel, and the design of the 100m long double-ended ship is tailored to its operating profile and route. Bunkering of the gas fuel is planned to take place in the Hou harbour in Jutland.

Wärtsilä's 20DF engine 

Exhaust emission comparison 


Image /graphs: Courtesy of Wärtsilä

Diesel Electric Propulsion for Liftboat a NES ‘Belt & Braces’ Solution

By George Backwell at August 24, 2013 04:37
Filed Under: drive systems, Offshore

A diesel electric propulsion system from a fairly new company based in Bergen, Norwegian Electric Systems (NES), is to be installed in the self-elevating work and accommodation barge ‘GMS Enterprise’ now under construction in the Middle East by Gulf Marine Services (GMS). The propulsion system for the DP2 rig is NES’s proprietary Quadro Drive® VFD, which gives an exceptional level of safety redundancy with its Black Out Safety System (dubbed B.O.S.S.).

Quadro Drive®
The Quadro Drive®, explains the manufacturers, is specially designed for ship installation and meant to set the standard of next generation propulsion converters; there is no need for a large transformer, as there is just one unit to install, making installation much easier and less expensive.

Quadro Drive® typology: Rendering courtesy of NES

A modular-based system is the cornerstone of the Quadro Drive® which gives possibilities for interchangeable parts, and an option of derating the drive if one module fails so the vessel can avoid off-hire time. Also worth mentioning is a drive interface which allows availability for  all common field-buses including Modbus and Profibus.

The Active Rectifier yields the possibility of regenerating the energy from the propeller and shaft back to the grid. The power factor is always unity, so the grid’s capability is fully utilized. The result is a flexible and dynamic propulsion system, focusing on a high performance energy chain from the diesel motor (in this newbuilding, according to GMS, four 1600 kW Wärtsilä 8L20 gensets) to thrust on the propellers.

B.O.S.S.® (Black Out Safety System)
The main philosophy of DP2 and DP3-class requirements is that the system shall handle one fault, whatever this fault may be, and still be able to maintain the position of the vessel. B.O.S.S.® supervises the complete electrical propulsion system, to ensure that the main philosophy of the DP-class is applied throughout the complete electrical system.

B.O.S.S. is the front line of defence against unexpected situations and abnormal behaviour of the main electrical components within the vessel’s power plant. The functions of the B.O.S.S.® system are integrated in the MSB and propulsion drives, collecting necessary information and performing the corrective actions.

B.O.S.S. features:

  • Full control of available power
  • Supervision of frequency and voltage
  • System is implemented throughout generators and  Quadro drive.
  • Rapid torque reduction to reduce output power in situations where a total black out might occur.
  • Integrated in Main Switch Board
  • Two independent systems if bus-tie breaker is ‘Open’

GMS Enterprise is an 83-m LOA E-Class self-propelled, self-elevating accommodation DP 2 jackup barge, capable of providing well service, construction, installation and accommodation for up to 150 persons. A 400-tonne crane is fitted and the vessel can operate in water depths of up to 80m.

GMS E-class liftboat: Photo courtesy of Gulf Marine Services

Launch from the GMS shipyard is scheduled for December 2013 and apart from the steel work, which comes from China, the modified 'Gusto' jack-up is being built entirely in Abu Dhabi, with the detailed design, jacking system and outfitting completed by GMS’ own in-house team and a local labour force.



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