VESSEL REVIEW | Xin Ming Zhu VIII – Fast catamaran for Hong Kong commuter routes

Xin Ming Zhu VIII
Xin Ming Zhu VIII

Hong Kong ferry operator Sun Ferry has taken delivery of the first vessel in a new series of six fast catamaran ferries built by China's AFAI Southern Shipyard. Xin Ming Zhu VIII (新明珠8; "New Pearl 8") is now in operation on the Central Ferry Pier to Mui Wo and Cheung Chau commuter routes in Hong Kong.

The aluminium vessel has an LOA of 44.8 metres (147 feet), a beam of 11.1 metres (36.4 feet), a draught of 1.37 metres (4.49 feet), a depth of 3.4 metres (11 feet), and a crew of five. It can transport up to 500 passengers at a top speed of 30 knots and a service speed of 27 knots, thanks to two MTU 16V2000 M72 engines that each produce 1,440 kW (1,930 hp) at 2,250 rpm and drive Kongsberg KaMeWa S71-4 waterjets. The latter also provide enhanced manoeuvrability essential in navigating through Hong Kong's busy harbour waters.

Comfortable accommodations for daily trips

Xin Ming Zhu VIII
Xin Ming Zhu VIII

The ferry's roof has 140 PV panels providing 14 kW of onboard power to supplement that produced by the onboard lithium battery pack and the two Dongfeng Cummins 6CTA8.3 generators. A shore charging connection is available to reduce reliance on the generators for electrical power when at berth. Fuel, fresh water, and sullage tank capacities are 8,000 litres (1,800 gallons), 1,000 litres (220 gallons), and 1,000 litres respectively.

The ferry's main deck features spacious seating for 299 passengers including six wheelchair spaces and two dedicated areas for passengers travelling with pets. There are also stroller storage areas and private change table facilities. A separate rest area with berths is also available for use by the crew.

Part of an ongoing urban fleet renewal

Large internal luggage storage spaces have been incorporated into the design of the main deck, including a protected seven-square-metre (80-square-foot) cargo area. The upper deck can accommodate an additional 201 passengers and also hosts a large, elevated wheelhouse that provides the crew with a 360-degree view. All interior spaces on the ferry are air-conditioned.

There are three locations on both the port and starboard sides of the main deck, allowing boarding and disembarking to be completed more efficiently. Large internal and external staircases meanwhile lead to the upper deck.

Xin Ming Zhu VIII
Xin Ming Zhu VIII

Design work on Xin Ming Zhu VIII was completed in compliance with China Classification Society rules, the IMO HSC Code, and local regulations in Hong Kong. All six catamaran ferries in the series were purchased with funding assistance provided by the Hong Kong SAR government in line with a broader scheme of acquiring new commuter vessels.

Xin Ming Zhu VIII
Type of vessel:Commuter ferry
Classification:CCS ★CSA Catamaran HSC, Passenger B Coastal Service Restriction, ★CSM
Flag:Hong Kong
Owner:Sun Ferry, Hong Kong
Builder:AFAI Southern Shipyard, China
Hull construction material:Aluminium
Superstructure construction material:Aluminium
Deck construction material:Aluminium
Length overall:44.8 metres (147 feet)
Beam:11.1 metres (36.4 feet)
Draught:1.37 metres (4.49 feet)
Depth:3.4 metres (11 feet)
Main engines:2 x MTU 16V2000 M72, each 1,440 kW (1,930 hp) at 2,250 rpm
Propulsion:2 x Kongsberg KaMeWa S71-4 waterjets
Generators:2 x Dongfeng Cummins 6CTA8.3
Maximum speed:30 knots
Cruising speed:27 knots
Other equipment installed:PV panels
Fuel capacity:8,000 litres (1,800 gallons)
Freshwater capacity:1,000 litres (220 gallons)
Blackwater capacity:1,000 litres (220 gallons)
Accommodation:Crew rest area
Operational areas:Hong Kong

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Baird Maritime / Work Boat World