Rolls-Royce, the leading global power systems company, is to provide gas engines and main azimuth thrusters for a double ended passenger / vehicle ferry to be built for the Norwegian operator Fjord 1. The vessel will be the world’s largest gas engined ferry.

On completion, the 20+ knot ferry will primarily serve the busy Arsvågen-Mortavika route forming a link in the main road system on the west coast of Norway between Bergen and Stavanger. Five ferries powered by Rolls-Royce gas engines fuelled with LNG already operate these services and for the new ferry Fjord 1 moved to Rolls-Royce thrusters as well.

“In planning the new ferry, Fjord 1 called for a substantial increase in efficiency,” explained Matias Mork, sales manager, Rolls-Royce system solution merchant vessel. “The Rolls-Royce Azipull thrusters, two at each end of the vessel, have pulling propellers and streamlined underwater units, which turn the swirl energy from the propeller water into useful thrust. They are a key to raising efficiency, in combination with the latest LNG fuelled gas engine design from Rolls-Royce. A significant improvement was found on the final model testing compared to existing ferries.”

The designers, Multi Maritime, developed a hullform and extensive studies and tank testing were undertaken in cooperation with Rolls-Royce to optimise the hydrodynamic integration of the Rolls-Royce AZP100 azimuth thrusters and the hull.

Three Bergen C25:33L9A nine cylinder gas engines power the four thrusters through an electric transmission. The C-series is a new design of gas engine now going into production, taking over from the older K series fitted in the existing five ferries on these routes, using the same successful lean burn combustion principle but incorporating the latest engine technology. The result, compared with conventional ferries burning liquid fuels, is a major reduction in CO2 and NOx emissions and the virtual elimination of soot and sulphur emissions. A diesel engine genset, Bergen C-series, is also to be installed to power the vessel in case it should need to serve as a reserve ferry on routes without gas supply, or in emergency.

The contract to build this ferry was won by Fiskerstrand BLRT, a Norwegian registered joint venture between Fiskerstrand Verft in Ålesund, Norway, and Western Shipyard in Klaipeda, Lithuania. The vessel will be 129.9m long and 19.2m beam with a deadweight of 1,300t, giving a capacity of 242 cars or its equivalent of 22 trucks plus cars on two decks, and it will be approved for 600 passengers.

Adding this ferry to the existing two vessels on the route will allow departures at 20min intervals instead of the current half hour frequency.