When Australian ship builders Strategic Marine needed to create a world-first for their Dutch customer Rederij Doeksen, they turned to us to design something exceptional. The challenge was to design a 70m-long, 17m-wide RoPax ferry that was capable of safely carrying 592 passengers and a mix of cars and trucks to and from the Terschelling and Vlieland islands on the Wadden Sea - the largest tidal flats system in the world and one that that extends along the coasts of Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands.
Because of its globally unique geological and ecological value, the Wadden Sea is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, and it was therefore vital that our design met all of Rederij Doeksen’s exacting requirements whilst making as little impact on the environment as possible.
The project marked a number of significant firsts for both the industry and ourselves. Not only was it our first ever design of a vessel powered completely by liquefied natural gas, but it was also made completely of aluminium. The resulting two catamarans are the first ever single-fuel LNG ferries in The Netherlands and the first ships in the world to boast single-fuel LNG engines directly driving a fixed propeller.
Being the first of their type and built entirely from aluminium posed a number of technical challenges to ensure that the vessels complied with the relevant rule sets and that they exceeded all the required safety standards for vessels of their size, capacity and operational requirements. However, all the challenges were ably overcome by working closely with the customer’s team along with the shipyard, Lloyds Classification Society, the Flag Authority and a host of other major sub-contractors that were associated with the project.
After construction by the Strategic Marine shipyard in Vietnam and delivery to their home port of Harlingen in the Netherlands, the ground-breaking new designs will allow Dutch ferry operators Rederij Doeksen to replace their existing fleet on the same route with new vessels that provide a much more environmentally friendly service along with significantly reduced emissions.
This article is part of #BestOfBMT 2019, featuring our best projects throughout the year.