High-speed ferries show the way for waterjet-warships

By Edward Lundquist at April 19, 2011 09:12
Filed Under: Navy insights, Navy insights, Navy insights, Navy insights
High-speed ferries show the way for waterjet-warships

Second in a series of articles on waterjets in www.maritime propulsion.com


By Edward Lundquist




This 325-ft. Incat fast ferry under construction in Australia will be able to  achieve speeds of 50 knots.   It will be the world’s first high speed passenger Ro-Ro ship powered by LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas). 


The use of waterjet-powered high-speed ferries is accelerating.


Several large ferries have reliably employed waterjets to provide high-speed operations, and correspondingly more revenue generating trips than the slower ferries they replaced.  Some of these ships are serving as prototypes for naval applications.


Australian shipbuilders Austal and Incat have both built high-speed catamarans that have been used as car and passenger ferries. 


There are a number of fast ferries in service or building that employ waterjets.  Their experience is helpful in matching the proper waterjet system for the naval requirement.


Bornholmstrafikken’s fast ferry H/F Villum Clausen, was built by Austal in Freemantle, powered by GE two LM2500 gas turbines and four Rolls-Royce Kamewa 112 SII waterjets.  The 282-foot catamaran established a new world's one-day distance record in 2000 when it covered 1,060 nautical miles transiting between Malaysia and India while the fast ferry was enroute to Denmark, at an average speed of 44 knots.  It was the longest distance traveled in a 24-hour period by a commercial passenger vessel.  Villum Clausen can load 215 cars and 1055 passengers.  It can achieve 48 knots and can make the Ronne, Denmark-to-Ystad, Sweden run in 1:15.


Austal also built the 416-foot diesel-powered trimaran auto ferry Benchijigua Express for Fred. Olsen, S.A., service in the Canary Islands.  Benchijigua Express is built to the same basic hull design as the General Dynamics USS Independence LCS design.  The trimaran operates with four MTU 20V 8000 diesel engines, rated at 9,100kW.  The pair of engines in the after engine room power a Rolls-Royce Kamewa 125 SII steerable waterjet.  The pair in the forward engine room together power a Rolls-Royce Kamewa 180 BII booster waterjet.  Benchijigua Express can achieve speeds of up to 42 knots.  The ferry has a capacity for 123 cars and 1,291 passengers.


Austal made available by lease the 331-foot Westpac Express (HSV 4676) for intra-theater use by the III Marine Expeditionary Force in the Pacific theater of operations.  Westpac Express has four Caterpillar 3618 diesels, rated at 7200kW each, and four Rolls-Royce Kamewa 125 SII waterjets.  Westpac Express can operate at speeds up to 37 knots.  Military Sealift Command Far East officials say the Marine Corps is very pleased with the flexibility that Westpac Express offers in moving units of Marines with their vehicles-and even helicopters-throughout the region quickly without requesting airlift support.  The stern ramp equipped ferry can carry more than 900 Marines, as well as 153 HUMMWVs or 12 AAVPs and 20 LAVs. Most recently, Westpac Express participated in the US response to the Japanese earthquake and tsunami


Austal is not the only fast ferry builder down under.  Australian shipbuilder Incat and its U.S. subsidiary Bollinger Shipyards, has built several high-speed waterjet vessels for the U.S. military.  Based on successful catamaran ferry designs, Joint Venture (HSV-X1) was chartered to the US Army TACOM and operated by the Navy and then Army.  Joint Venture displaces 1,740 tons fully loaded, is 96 meters long, and can achieve speeds up to 48 knots.  The catamaran uses four Caterpillar 3618 marine diesel engines with four Wärtsilä-Lips LJ150D steerable waterjets.  The Army liked the HSV concept so much, it chartered another wave piercing catamaran for the Theater Support Vessel Advanced Concept Technology Demonstrator (ACTD) role.  Named Spearhead (TSV)-1X, while the Navy chartered Swift (HSV 2) to support the Mine Warfare Command and perform LCS experimentation.  The 321-foot Spearhead is powered by four Ruston 20RK270 marine engines, driving four Wärtsilä-Lips LJ120E waterjets through Reintjes gearboxes.  The 321-foot Swift is fitted with four Caterpillar 3618 high density diesel engines and four Wärtsilä-Lips water-jets that allow speeds in excess of 47 knots at lightship and 39 knots fully-loaded up to sea-state 3, with a range of 4400 nautical miles at 40 knots and 6500 nautical miles at 25 knots.


Australian shipbuilder Incat Tasmania Pty Ltd is building what they say is the world’s first high speed passenger Ro-Ro ship powered by LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas).  The 325-ft. fast ferry can achieve speeds of 50 knots, and can carry 1000 passengers and 153 cars.  The ship is being built for South American operator Buquebus, which will operate the vessel on their River Plate service between Buenos Aires, Argentina and Montevideo in Uruguay.


The Incat-built Condor Rapide operates between the Channel Islands of Jersey and Guernsey and St Malo, France, and has a speed of 38 knots.


The all-aluminum 34-knot Lake Express was built in 2004 at Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama.  The 192-foot Lake Express operates between Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Muskegon, Michigan, and can carry 46 cars.  Four MTU 16V 4000 M70 diesel engines producing 3000hp each drive four independent Kamewa 80 SII waterjets.


Italian shipbuilder Rodriquez Cantieri Navali, Messina, Sicily, has constructed an 82-metre monohull ferry, Aquastrada, that will be able to carry up to 1246 passengers with a maximum payload of 56 cars or 22 cars and 110 metres of truck lanes.  The four MAN B&W Diesel Ltd 18VP185s (rated at 3700 kWb each), driving Lips waterjets through Reintjes gearboxes, will be located at the aft end of the aluminum ship, to optimize interior volume for vehicles.  Fully loaded, the ferry will make 39 knots and the quadruple VP185 engines will drive Wärtsilä Lips LJ91E waterjets through Reintjes gearboxes. Waterjets permit the ferry to rotate 360 degrees around its centre; move laterally for mooring; and stop from full in less than four ship lengths.


Rodriquez Cantieri Navali also constructed the monohull Princess for Arab Bridge Maritime Company in Jordan.  Princess employs four Wärtsilä Lips LJ91E waterjets, each linked to one 3920 kW diesel engine to reach speeds up to 41 knots.

Fincantieri's Riva Trigoso shipyard in Genoa built the 1,000-tonne MDV 3000 Jupiter-class Ro-Ro fast ferries Aries and Taurus, the biggest fast ferries in the world, for Italian state-owned operator Tirrenia.  Four MTU 20V 1163 20V TB73 L units rated 6,500kW each and two GE LM 2500 systems rated at 22,000kW each are connected to the largest steering water jets ever built.  This class has two gas turbine-driven booster waterjets and two diesel-shaft powered wing steering waterjets.


The Greek 140-meter monohull Aeolos Kenteris is one of the largest of the fast ferries. Built in France in 2001, she is capable of 40 knots, carrying up to 442 vehicles and more than 1,700 passengers.  She now works in the Red Sea between Safaga, Egypt and Jeddah, Sauidi Arabia. 


The CODAG propulsion plant features two GE LM2500+ gas turbines and two Pielstick 20PA6B STC engines.  Each gas turbines is connected to a two-stage Renk BS 210 gearbox and a Kamewa 200 511 steerable and reversible waterjet, while the diesels are connected via a Renk AUSL 72-reduction gearbox la seven-bladed Kamewa 140 511 steerable and reversible waterjet.  Aeolos Kenteris also has a pair of electrically-driven bow thrusters for close maneuvering.


The Austal-built “WestPac Express” is chartered to the U.S,. Navy as a High Speed Connector (HSC), to support the operations of the US Marine Corps’ Third Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF) in the Western Pacific theatre.




Comments (2) -

we have client interested in purchasing two second hand High speed ferries for 2.500 passengers.
Deal could be purchase or rental.
Will apreciate comments.

Juan Lynch |     4/19/2011 4:04:25 PM #

I enjoyed the article.  However, the writer gives the impression that the USS Independence is propelled by R-R KaMeWa waterjets.  This is not the case.  

LCS-2, the USS Independence, is propelled by Wärtsilä Lips Defense jets model WLD150E-SR and WLD160E-SR.  LCS-4 is propelled by WLD1720-SR (axial flow) waterjets and WLD150E-SR wing jets.  The next vessel in the series, LCS-6, will be propelled by Wärtsilä Lips Defense model WLD1720-SR and WLD1500-SR (axial flow) jets.  The inclusion of four axial flow jets on the next series of ten "Independence class" vessels provides additional cavitation margin and increased fuel economy for both slower speed and higher operational modes.

The author also failed to mentioned that the new Incat Tasmania-built, LNG-powered ferry for Buquebus will be propelled by Wärtsilä waterjets.

Aaron Bresnahan |     4/26/2011 2:47:27 PM #

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