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The European Causeway is the fastest and most powerful conventional ferry on the Irish Sea, with a speed of 23 knots. It is the first of two vessels built for P&O by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries at their Shimonoeki shipyard, Japan. Its usual route is between Larne and Cairnryan.
The European Causeway has an overall length of 159.5m and a length of 148m between perpendiculars. Its beam is 23.4m and it has a 5.5m draught. The depth to deck 3 is 15.2m. The ferry registers 20,646gt or 9,516nt, with a deadweight of 4,276t
With a crossing time of 105 minutes, there are no on-board passenger accommodation facilities, although there are a number of other amenities for the 410 passengers (maximum) to enjoy.
The video lounge can house 47 people, while the quiet lounge seats 80 people. The poets lounge bar offers panoramic views for more than 200 passengers. The fables buffet restaurant can house 103 people. There is also a children’s cinema for 10 people, a shop and electronic games area.
Aft of the main reception area, freight drivers have their own lounge, featuring two wide-screen televisions near their own restaurant. Each area can seat 60 people. In the event of an emergency, there are two 71-person lifeboats and four 25–person life rafts.
Access to the vehicles is provided by a door each in the bow and the stern. The bow ramp measures 6.5m in length and is 5.5m wide. The bow door is 5.2m high and has a width of 5.5m, while the stern door is 5.2m high and 15m wide. There is also a 5.2m by 5.5m door on deck 3.
The vehicles are housed over three decks. The European Causeway has a capacity of 1,771 lane metres, corresponding to 375 cars. Deck 3 is 791 lane metres and has a free height of 5.2m. Deck 2 is 833 lane metres and has a free height of 5.2m. Deck 1 has a length of 147m and a free height of 5m. Internally, the cars move between decks by a hoistable ramp measuring 50m long by 3m wide.
The European Causeway is powered by four Wärtsilä 12V38 engines, which each have an output of 7.92kW when driven at 600rpm. There are also two auxiliary engines. These are Daihatsu 6DK-28 units that have an output of 1,900kW each when at 750 rpm.
The engines are linked to two Kamewa propellers with a diametre of 4.25m, which rotate at 182 rpm. This gives the ferry a service speed of 22.7 knots, although it can attain a maximum speed of 24.95 knots.
For manoeuvring, the ferry employs two Kawasaki 1,260kW bowthrusters. To ensure a stable crossing, there is also a Litton stabilizer. The total consumption of the 380cSt quality fuel is approximately 123.9t/24hr.
The ferry’s tanks can store 1,032m³ of fuel oil and 124m³ of diesel, as well as 134m³ of lube oil. Other tankage also holds 260m³ of fresh water and 2,488m³ of ballast water. Fitted on the ferry are series 260 Tankstar-type approved sensors, digital display monitors and two indicator panels with analogue displays. The system provides digital indication within the ballast control room, with the panels mounted at the port and starboard fuel stations. The Series 600 Tankwatch self-powered gauges are also fitted as a secondary display, meeting regulations for passenger vessels and a lower-cost alternative to expensive sight glasses.
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