VESSEL REVIEW | Mustai Karim – Sea and river-capable newbuild to serve Moscow cruise market


The Krasnoye Sormovo shipyard of Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) has handed over a new cruise ship to local operator Vodohod. Designed by naval architects Marine Engineering Bureau (MEB), the newbuild has been named Mustai Karim after a famed twentieth century Russian poet.

MEB has claimed Mustai Karim is the first river-sea cruise passenger vessel to be built in Russia in over 60 years. It belongs to the Project PV300 series, which was designed to be capable of operations in both inland waters and the open sea. Also, the vessel is intended to function as a “floating four- or five-star hotel” in accordance with the operator’s wishes.

“This is the first and the biggest passenger vessel whose dimensions satisfy the maximum limits of the Volga-Don shipping channel,” MEB told Baird Maritime. “It is also the only river cruise ship that is permitted to pass underneath the raised Neva River bridges in Saint Petersburg with passengers on board, thanks in part to a propulsion arrangement that includes two 360-degree rotating, fixed-pitch propellers, a 530kW bow thruster, and an efficient hull form. This arrangement also allows the vessel to moor in Saint Petersburg’s historical city centre, which is a favourite destination among tourists.”

The newbuild has an LOA of 141 metres, a beam of 16.8 metres, and a maximum draught of three metres. With the ability to sail in wave heights of up to three metres as well as in areas with thin surface ice, the vessel can easily navigate under a broad range of sailing conditions typical in waterways that include the Volga and Don Rivers and even the more open waters of the Black Sea, the Caspian Sea, and the Sea of Azov.

Two heavy fuel oil-powered engines that each produce 1,200 kW drive the two Schottel fixed-pitch rudder propellers (FPRPs) to deliver a speed of 12 knots and an endurance of 15 days. MEB added that increased manoeuvrability can be achieved when making wide-angle turns using the FPRPs. This makes it easier to operate the ship in narrow inland waterways wherein manoeuvring at speed would be impractical due to the reduced effectiveness of the rudders.

As it is intended to operate as a cruise ship for both river and open sea sailings, Mustai Karim presented some challenges to its designers.

“It became clear to us that the river-sea concept will have restrictions on passenger capacity, since the dimensions required for sailing in two differing types of waterways mean there will be limitations to just how much space can be allocated for cabins and other common areas such as restaurants. Also, the number of decks will be dictated by the vessel’s air draught.”

MEB said it was able to overcome these issues through solutions that included CFD modeling and towing tank tests to further optimise hull form as well as reinforcement through thickened steel sheeting in accordance with strength calculations. The result is a vessel that successfully conforms to modern cruise and hotel industry standards with improved comfort and a reasonable selection of modern amenities.

“The sea trials and the first operational sea and river voyages showed us that it is possible to create an effective hull design even with a greater length-to-beam ratio compared to most other passenger vessels,” the designer told Baird Maritime.

The four-deck Mustai Karim can accommodate 329 guests in 161 cabins in multiple classes as well as 144 crewmembers. The passenger cabins are mainly two-person staterooms with total areas ranging from 17 to 46 square metres each. The only exceptions are 11 suites including one designed specifically for passengers with limited mobility and an owner’s suite.

The onboard amenities consist of two restaurants including one with space for 329 guests, bars with panoramic views, a conference room with seating for 140 people, a wine cellar, a large sun deck, a live entertainment venue with 200 seats, a sports and fitness complex with spa, and a salon/barber shop. Access between the various passenger decks is via two lifts while all onboard spaces have internet connectivity and satellite TV.

The vessel’s communication and navigation electronics include Transas X- and S-band radars and GPS, a sonar and depth sounder from Skipper, a Sailor satcom, a Jupiter magnetic compass, a Navigat gyrocompass, and a Sperry Marine autopilot. Power for the onboard electrical systems is supplied by three 760ekW diesel generators while a 150ekW generator will be reserved for emergency use.

Like the vessel itself, the onboard array of lifesaving equipment is fully compliant to Russian River Register (RRR) rules. The equipment includes two Palfinger 48-passenger fast rescue boats, 16 life rafts with capacity for 25 people each, and two marine evacuation systems that will enable the occupants to safely abandon ship without having to enter the water.

“To further improve fire safety,” MEB told Baird Maritime, “the vessel’s interior has been divided into main vertical zones with constructive and thermal barriers and installed detection and automatic sprinkler systems. We also made sure to limit the use of potentially flammable materials.”

The designer also configured the interior spaces so as to provide a passive means of restricting the spread of flames. This lowers the risk of fire reaching the escape routes in the event of an emergency.

Mustai Karim was built for Vodohod in fulfilment of a shipbuilding contract awarded by local conglomerate Mashpromlizing. The vessel is now being operated out of Moscow to destination cities that include Saint Petersburg, Astrakhan, and Rostov-on-Don.

Click here for the other news, features and reviews comprising this month’s Passenger Vessel Week.

Mustai Karim
Type of vessel: River/Sea cruise ship
Classification: Russian River Register class M-PR 3,0 (Ice 30) A
Flag: Russia
Owner: Vodohod, Russia
Operator: Vodohod, Russia
Designer: Marine Engineering Bureau, Russia
CAD software: AutoCAD; Rhinoceros
Builder: Krasnoye Sormovo, Russia
Hull construction material: Steel
Superstructure construction material: Aluminium
Deck construction material: Steel
Length overall: 141.15 metres
Length waterline: 140.63 metres
Length bp: 137.74 metres
Beam: 16.8 metres
Draught: 3.0 metres
Depth: 5.0 metres
Displacement: 5,862 tonnes
Deadweight tonnage: 1,219
Gross tonnage: 8,966
Net tonnage: 3,051
Main engines: 2 x 1,200 kW
Propulsion: 2 x Schottel SRP 340 rudder propellers
Auxiliary engines: 3 x 800 kW
Generators: 3 x 760 ekW; 150 ekW
Side thruster: Schottel STT1 FP, 530 kW
Maximum speed: 13.5 knots
Cruising speed: 12 knots
Batteries: Sonnenschein A412
Hydraulic equipment: Mast lifting system; remote control valves
Electronics supplied by: Transas
Radars: Transas S-band; Transas X-band
Depth sounder: Skipper GDS 101
Radios: 2 x Icom IC A110; Tron Air; 2 x Ermak CP 360; Vertex VX 417 UHF
Sonar: Skipper DL 850
Satcom: Sailor 900 VSAT
Weatherfax: JAX 9B
Autopilot: Sperry Marine
Compasses: Jupiter; Navigat X MK II
GMDSS: Sailor 6110 SSAS/LRIT; Sailor 6320 MF/HF 250 W; 3 x Sailor 6222 VHF DSC class A; 3 x Sailor SP3520
GPS: Transas T 701
Plotters: 2 x WisionMaster FT ECDIS
AIS: Transas T 105
Audio/video system: Satellite TV; terrestrial television system; satellite internet
Alarm/monitoring system: Valcom
Cameras/night vision: Hernis
Other electronics: Automatic telephone station; administrative IT
Winches: 4 x Gurdesan G.MW-6001-E/100 automatic mooring winches
Capstans: 2 x Gurdesan GD.AWC-E 48K2 fore anchor mooring capstans; Gurdesan GD.AWC-E 36K2 aft anchor mooring capstan
Crane: 2-speed engine room service crane
Fendering: GOST 8732-78 B20 steel pipe, 203 mm х 8.0 mm
Watermaker: Reverse osmosis system
Other equipment installed: 2 x passenger lifts; 2 x galley lifts; waste handling system
Paints/coatings: A-60; A-30
Seating: Aris and Geser
Interior lighting: Aris and Geser
External lighting: LED
Floor/deck surface finishes: Carpet; linoleum; ceramic tile
Interior designer: Guido de Groot
Interior fitout/furnishings: Aris and Geser
Firefighting equipment: CO2 system; sprinkler system; aerosol extinguishing system
Liferafts: 16 x 25 pax
Lifeboats: 2 x Dana marine evacuation system, each 200 pax
Rescue boats: 2 x Palfinger LBT 700, each 48 pax
Type of fuel: IFO380
Fuel consumption: 24,000 litres per day
Freshwater capacity: 180,000 litres (fresh water); 75,000 litres (drinking water)
Sewage/blackwater capacity: 300,000 litres (sewage); 108,000 litres (blackwater)
Accommodation: 152 x standard staterooms; suite for limited mobility passengers; deluxe stateroom; 8 x suites; owner’s suite; restaurants; bars; conference room; wine cellar; sun deck; live entertainment venue; sports and fitness complex with spa; salon/barber shop
Crew: 141
Passengers: 329

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