Schottel propels Tasmanian all-aluminium ferry

German manufacturer Schottel has provided its propulsion solutions for Nairana, a new all-aluminium ferry.

Image Courtesy: Schottel
Image Courtesy: Schottel

Australian shipbuilder Richardson Devine Marine (RDM) has recently handed over the Incat Crowther design vessel to ferry owner and operator Sealink Tasmania. A structurally identical sister ship is currently under construction at RDM and is scheduled to enter service in March 2021.

Nairana is built entirely from aluminium. By reducing the vessel’s weight, it consumes less fuel, travels longer distances and ensures excellent manoeuvrability. Being lightweight, yet still robust, the vessel is extremely economical to operate.

“The brief was to provide two unique, new vessels that are highly manoeuvrable to facilitate rapid turnaround times, have multiple engines for redundancy, and are economical. Overall, they needed to be uncomplicated and reliable,” Roger Janes, Sales and Marketing Manager of RDM, said.

“By installing Schottel Rudderpropellers, the challenge was enthusiastically met and successfully overcome.”

The ferry is fitted with four Schottel Rudderpropellers type SRP 100 (200 kW each), one in each corner. The azimuth thrusters, driven by diesel engines, rotate 360 degrees, giving the vessel excellent manoeuvrability and high course stability even on the open sea and with strong side winds. With all four rudder propellers delivering thrust in the direction of travel, maximum propulsion efficiency is ensured.

In order to enhance passenger comfort and reduce noise emissions, the azimuth thrusters are resiliently mounted. Furthermore, the thrusters can be exchanged while the vessel is afloat.

As the 44.9-metre long and 13.6-metre wide ferry is double-ended and has two wheelhouses, it does not have to turn around.

If required, the vessel can operate on two propulsion units during off-peak periods, further reducing operating costs.

This ferry and the second under construction will run at 12 knots as opposed to the current vessels running at around 8 knots. This will allow for more crossings per hour, easing traffic flow burden to the island from mainland Tasmania.

Sealink, operator of passengers and vehicle ferries all around Australia, secured a ten-year contract to operate the RoPax service that forms a crucial road link between Kettering, located 35 kilometres south of Hobart, and Bruny Island.

Nairana has a total capacity of 36 cars and 192 passengers. The two central vehicle lanes totalling 90 metres are provided for trucks. The vessel is also certified to carry dangerous goods.