BMT Nigel Gee (BMT), a subsidiary of the UK-based BMT Group, has won a contract to design two 70m aluminium-hull catamaran RoPax ferries from Rederij Doeksen, a Dutch operator of passenger and freight services.

Under the deal, BMT will be responsible for concept through to production design of the vessels.

Strategic Marine, a subsidiary of Triyard Holdings, will build both the vessels, which will enter service in April 2018.

"They will be the first passenger vessels to have the new MTU 4000 series gas engine installed."

Once completed, both the vessels will serve the Friesland Islands connecting Harlingen, Terschelling and Vlieland in the Netherlands.

Vripack will carry out exterior and interior styling of the vessels, which will be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), with both main engines and generators running off the LNG supply.

Compared to traditional steel and diesel powered vessels, the new LNG vessels will offer a 30% reduction in CO2 emissions and a 100% reduction in nitrogen oxide (NOx) / sulpher oxide (SOx).

BMT Nigel Gee technical director Ed Dudson said: “The vessels will be built in aluminium to minimise weight, thereby further reducing emissions. They will be the first passenger vessels to have the new MTU 4000 series gas engine installed.

“Bow thrusters will be run from stored power, recharged from shore power.

“At 70m long with a 17m beam, the vessels will also have a very low operating draft of 2.5m to facilitate operating in the Wadensee, an area of particularly shallow water. Manoeuvrability will be excellent with the use of Azimuthing thrusters.”

Designed to interface with current port facilities, both the vessels will have capacity to accommodate over 60 cars and 600 passengers.

The vessels will be equipped with wind generators and solar panels to support its environmentally friendly aspects.

In May this year, France-based shipbuilder Piriou delivered two 26W wind farm support vessels (WFSVs), designed by BMT Nigel Gee, to their respective European owners including Rix Sea Shuttle and AIS (Marine) 2.

Image: Rederij Doeksen’s two aluminium-hull catamaran RoPax ferries will be designed by BMT. Photo: courtesy of BMT Group Ltd.