The Yacht Express is the latest addition to the fleet of Dockwise Yacht Transport (DYT), which is the world’s only float-on/float-off yacht transport service. DYT is based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and is a group company of Dockwise Transport BV of the Netherlands.
The company has a fleet of 15 semi-submersible vessels for this purpose and the transport of other heavy maritime cargoes. Yacht Express is owned by Yacht Express BV and managed by Anglo-Eastern Ship Management Ltd.
In May 2007 DYT christened/launched the newest addition to the fleet, the flagship Yacht Express. The vessel was constructed at the Yantai Raffles Shipyard in Yantai, Province of Shandong, China.
The new ship, which is the largest of its kind in the world (130ft longer than the previous biggest carrier), was built with a semi-submersible dock bay which can accept yachts of any class.
The new vessel is 209m long, 32.20m wide, 8.5m deep with a draft of 5.8m. The submerged draft is 14m, the deck length is 165m, the deck width is 31m, the deck space is 5,115m² and the weight is 15,000t (with a carrying capacity of 5,000t).
The vessel class is 1A1 General Cargo Carrier DK(+) PWDK. The propulsion system of the vessel has two azimuth thrusters with a combined power of 10,200kW.
The Yacht Express will run on regularly scheduled trips between Florida and the Mediterranean. The ship has a service speed of 18kt, which means that the transatlantic voyage takes between eight and 15 days, 50% faster than previously.
Following its launch, the Yacht Express was used in the southern oceans around Australia and New Zealand before travelling to its base in Florida. It travelled across the Atlantic to make a special inaugural appearance at the Monaco Yacht Show in September 2007, where it was re-christened.
The loading process involves the carrier taking on ballast water until the main deck is submerged to a critical depth that allows the yachts to sail aboard. When all the yachts are loaded, divers are dispatched to attach temporary supports to keep the boats elevated as the ballast is released. The ballast water is then pumped out, bringing the carrier back above the waterline.
When the carrier deck is dry, the yachts are then welded to specially designed seaworthy fastenings to maintain them safely for transportation.
The ship features complimentary cabins for the ride-aboard crew of the yachts being transported. There is also a swimming pool, restaurant, cinema and conference, media and fitness facilities.
The Yacht Express is outfitted with the latest technology for monitoring weather patterns and conditions on the high seas. The system installed in conjunction with the International SeaKeepers Society is the modular SeaKeeper 1000 ocean and meteorological monitoring system.
The SeaKeeper 1000 is installed as a fully automated unit that can sample, measure, record and transmit the critical measures of ocean health-salinity, temperature, oxygen and pollution to various scientific bodies across the world.