Welcome to Passenger Vessel Week!


It’s lucky that our Passenger Vessel Week features roll around as frequently as they do. There is so much happening in the passenger vessel sector that we could fill one weekly.

Passenger vessels are certainly exciting, imaginative and innovative. And there is so much variety coming up, from a huge Russian inland waterways cruiser to a rather whimsical-looking little hydrogen-fueled catamaran from Japan. There is a smart, fastish Ro-Pax for Tahiti from Spain’s Armon yard. The only thing I don’t like about it is the bow door, even though it is one of the best I’ve ever seen. It redeems itself with excellent life boat and rescue boat launching facilities among other interesting features.

Ferries • Ro-Pax • Marine Tourism • Cruise • Freshwater

Norway’s Brødrene Aa presents yet another of its highly refined FRP/carbon catamaran ferries and Fincantieri, through its Romanian and Norwegian Vard yards, has a hybrid icebreaking cruise vessel for Ponant. The Spaniards, too, have been very busy and Oliver Design has come up with a brilliant conversion of a ferry into a cruise vessel for Scotland’s Western Isles.

Meanwhile, the high speed grounding of the 49-metre Kvaerner Fjellstrand Ro-Pax ferry San Gwann near Ibiza in Spain last week should remind us of safety considerations. As I have commented so many times before, my extensive research shows conclusively that these fast aluminium catamarans are the safest passenger-carrying craft around. Despite “hitting the bricks” at speed due to obvious operator error, none of the 47 people on board were seriously injured. Indeed, only 25 passengers were injured at all. This is testament to the stability and near unsinkability of catamarans combined with the cushioning “crumpability” of their aluminium construction. It is frightening to imagine what could have happened had San Gwann been a steel monohull.

There is all this and much more coming up through this week on Baird Maritime. Don’t miss it!

Vessel Reviews:

Features and Opinion:

VESSEL REFIT | Lord of the Highlands – Mediterranean ferry finds new life as cruise ship for Scottish inland and coastal waters

– “Originally designed to transport 700 passengers on short sailings between Turkey and Greece, the ferry has now been converted to accommodate up to 50 guests on one-week itineraries in Scotland’s lochs, canals, and inter-island routes.”

FEATURE | Japanese partnership successfully demonstrates auto berthing and un-berthing system using large ferry

– “The tests utilised the 11,410GT ferry Sunflower Shiretoko, thus validating the compatibility of the system with large vessels.”

News, Book Reviews and Gear:

Recent Important Features:

OPINION | Cruising into stormy weather

– “It is the acute and urgent changes to the economic ecosystem of the cruise business that will mean, by 2030, cruising will be unrecognisable from the industry that set sail at the start of the decade.”

– by Nick Savvides, maritime industry news correspondent

EDITORIAL | Incat goes electric: Bass Strait should be a showcase for electric catamaran ferries

– “Even worse, with the simultaneous development of appropriate electric propulsion systems, the fuel cost differential between the environmentally clean, Incat-proposed, electric-powered ships and the comparatively dirty, gas-guzzling Finnish ferries will be simply astounding.”

– by Neil Baird, Co-Founder and former Editor-in-Chief of Baird Maritime

COLUMN | Shipbuilding in Australia: why would you do it? [The Boroscope]

– “In a world in which Australia is increasingly becoming isolated, we are dependent on almost everything from overseas.”

– by Kent Stewart, founder of maritime consultancy Maritime Engineers and Baird Maritime‘s resident expert on commercial shipping and the offshore industries

Remember to come back every day to see the latest news, opinion and vessel reviews!

Call for content!

Any news or views about the global maritime tourism, ferry and cruise industries? Send it through to [email protected] ASAP (between now and September 10), so we can add it to this current edition of Passenger Vessel Week!

We are after:

  • Vessels – Orders, new deliveries, under construction
  • Gear – Latest innovations and technology in the passenger vessel sector
  • Interviews – Owners, operators, terminal authorities, passenger vessel associations, etc.
  • Reminiscences – Do you have any exciting, amusing or downright dangerous anecdotes from your time in the passenger vessel world? (example here)
  • Other – Any other relevant news

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Neil Baird

Co-founder and former Editor-in-Chief of Baird Maritime and Work Boat World magazine, Neil has travelled the length and breadth of this planet in over 40 years in the business. He knows the global work boat industry better than anyone.