Japan-based Mitsubishi Shipbuilding has launched Taiheiyo Ferry’s new vessel Kitakami at Enoura Plant, operated by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) unit Shimonoseki Shipyard & Machinery Works.

Scheduled to be delivered by next January, Kitakami will replace Taiheiyo Ferry’s one of the three large ships providing regular service between the Nagoya, Sendai, and Tomakomai ports in Japan.

The 14,000t vessel will also eliminate the large shared cabin design of the existing vessel, as well as offer privacy and improved comfort to the passengers.

Featuring eight storeys, Kitakami will be 192.5m-long and 27m-wide.

“Kitakami is also expected to offer a 10% increase in energy-efficiency compared to the vessel it will replace.”

The vessel’s decks will be placed between the first and fifth storeys, with a capacity to carry 166 trucks and 146 passenger cars.

Its sixth and seventh storeys will be designed to accommodate 535 passengers, several cabins, a restaurant and a public bath offering outside views.

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Kitakami will carry a bridge and space for the crew on its eighth floor.

Representing the sixth vessel developed by Kitakami for Taiheiyo Ferry, Kitakami features the ‘Space Travel’ design concept that aims to increase the joy of ship travel experience.

According to Mitsubishi, in accordance with the ferry’s journey time that usually starts in the evening and ends in the morning, 11 cabin types have been created to replicate travel through a star-studded sky.

Apart from the private cabins, all rooms replacing the previous large shared cabins will include capsule-type beds.

Kitakami is also expected to offer a 10% increase in energy-efficiency compared to the vessel it will replace.

Vessel construction has been subsidised under a joint programme of Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI); and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT).