RR & Converteam Mermaid Pods Chosen for Europa 2

By George Backwell at March 20, 2011 06:26
Filed Under: Company News, General

Hapag Lloyd displayed solid confidence in the growth of the European-based cruise business, when they recently announced the order of a new luxury cruise liner, Europa 2, from the STX France shipyard.  They chose Rolls Royce engineered 'Mermaid' pod propulsion (in consortium with power conversion specialists Converteam) to propel (and steer) the new cruise liner, despite widely publicised problems with Mermaid in ships of Carnival and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines during the past year.

Mermaid Pods – Difficulties Overcome?

With the increasing popularity of diesel- electric configurations as the means of propulsion for many large cruise liners, the Mermaid pod system serves both as propulsor and rudder, with an integrated electric motor directly coupled, without any gearing, to a relatively short propellor shaft; all contained within the hydrodynamically streamlined pod housing.

Mermaid Pod: Schematic courtesy of RR

Difficulties with Mermaid have occurred in the past year or so, mainly focused on the bearing at the top of the pod which bears not only the forward thrust (and occasional reverse thrust) of the ship, but also the stress of lateral steering and manoevering forces.

Specifically for instance (Cunard houseflagged) Queen Mary ll owners Carnival Cruise Line detailed a litany of Mermaid problems including cracking in the Mermaid bearings and exciter frames, electrical arcing and failures of the damper bars (Carnival was awarded substantial damages against the consortium by the US District Court of Miami on 4, January 2011).

Europa 2

The new medium-sized luxury standard cruise ship will be equipped with two Mermaid pods, with mechanical and hydraulic parts manufactured by Rolls Royce, and Converteam providing the integrated electric 7.25MW synchronous motors that are fed by PWM MV7000 converters. The complete units are scheduled for final test at the Converteam plant in Nancy, France, in Spring 2012.

Acknowledging that Mermaid has had a difficult start that had required "remedial programs"‚ Felgeres Maxentius, Converteam's cruise manager added: "Mermaid is now on the market with very good performance and reliability."

Although the US cruise market is far larger, some analysts predict the European market as being likely to grow more rapidly; accordingly Hapag Lloyd plan to base the fine-lined 39,500 gt  Europa 2 in Europe after delivery in 2013, with cruises to Mediterranean destinations on offer.









Schematic courtesy of Hapag Lloyd

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