The Fares Al Salam is a vehicle/passenger ferry built by Australian-based Austal Ships for the Saudi-owned Maritime Company for Navigation. It is operated by the Egyptian ferry company, El Salam Maritime, which has a fleet of 14 conventional vessels.
With a maximum speed of 38 knots, the aluminium catamaran will be the operator’s first high speed ferry and conversely marks the first entry for Austal in this new market. It will operate on the 105 nautical mile route between the Egyptian port of Safaga
and Duba, located across the Red Sea in Saudi Arabia. Future expansion of the operation will include the Safaga to Jiddah route.
The catamaran is an Auto Express design. It has an overall length 56m or 49.8m at the waterline, as well as a moulded beam of 14m. The hull depth (moulded) is 5.0m and it has a maximum draught of 2.7m.
The vessel can accommodate a maximum of 430 passengers housed on a single (upper) deck. The interior is of a functional standard and the aircraft-style seating is upholstered in a light blue fabric. Four wide aisles enabling easy passenger access separate the seating blocks. The central seating blocks are grouped in sets of four or six around a central table. The floors are covered with durable and serviceable Amtico flooring. The seats are arranged around a central island which contains a number of amenities including a kiosk with kitchen and storage facilities, a shop and the toilets.
The crew facilities are located in the forward part of this amenity block. These include a fully operational mess room and the stair access to the control rooms, directly above in the bridge deck.
Passenger entertainment and communication is catered for through a public address system that can be operated from both the kiosk and the bridge, incorporating entertainment audio distribution and general alarm.
Video and TV stations are distributed through the passenger saloon via nine colour monitors and audio is distributed via ceiling mounted speakers from the VCR, six-disk compact disk player, cassette player and AM/FM tuner, which are all operated from
an entertainment rack mounted in the kiosk.
The vehicle deck has the capacity to carry 43 cars and features car lanes with bay sizes of 4.5m x 2.25m and a clearance height of 2.6m. The cars enter and disembark at the stern by means of a 5m long wide stern ramp. This has a 500mm-long hinged flap. Concentrating on tourist traffic, there is no capacity from trucks. The maximum axle load is 1.5t.
The wheelhouse onboard Fares Al Salam is impressive and fully equipped with the latest in marine technology including two Furuno/Kelvin Hughes radars, Leica DGPS, Skipper echo sounder, speed log, gyro compass suitable for high speed vessels and
overhead magnetic compass.
The propulsion package of the ferry comprises four MTU 16v 4000 M70 engines, each with an output of 2,320kW at 2,000rpm. Each of these drive a Kamewa 71 SII water jet. The maximum speed is 34.5 knots at 90% MCR with 130t of deadweight. It can operate at significant wave heights of up to 4.5m. In order to reduce slamming, the tunnel height between the hulls was designed at 2.6m.
Other motion control systems consist of T foils and interceptors, which are operated by the touch-screen control from a central computer. This console allows the helmsman to adjust the trim to suit specific loading and sea conditions. This also controls the Seastate SmartPacs which provide power to the forward and aft control surfaces as well as the deck equipment.
The ferry is classified by Germanischer Lloyd under the notation 100 A5, HSC-Passenger A, OC3.
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