Passenger Vessel News Roundup | October 5 – Norwegian autonomous ferry, Great Lakes cruise ship, and US and Chinese tour boats


Recent deliveries include a new cruise ship for a US operator and two new river tour boats in China. An Alaska tour company places an order for a new sightseeing catamaran for use in the state’s southern coastal waters. Lastly, a Norwegian university has begun trial sailings of a new ferry featuring both electric propulsion and autonomous navigation technology.

Operational trials underway for Norwegian-designed autonomous ferry

Photo: NTNU

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Norges teknisk-naturvitenskapelige universitet; NTNU) has begun conducting operational trial sailings of what it claims is the world’s first urban autonomous passenger ferry.

The NTNU-designed autonomous ferry MilliAmpere 2 is now running shuttle traffic across the main channel in Trondheim until mid-October. The public may ride on the ferry during the trial period.

NTNU said this is the first time a self-propelled electric passenger ferry has been put into trial operation along urban waterways.

MilliAmpere 2 is a larger variant of MilliAmpere, an earlier NTNU-designed autonomous ferry prototype that was completed in 2016. The newer vessel is also equipped with a greater number of collision avoidance sensors such as rangefinders, cameras, lasers, and radar.

In addition, sensors have been installed to give an operator in a land-based control room a better understanding of the situation to be able to take over control of the ferry should the need arise.

Second ship in series joins Viking Cruises’ expedition fleet

Photo: Vard

Viking Cruises recently took delivery of the second of two ice-strengthened expedition vessels designed and built by Vard.

Viking Polaris was especially designed and developed for expeditions in Antarctica and North America’s Great Lakes. It will operate in these areas alongside sister Viking Octantis, which was delivered in December 2021.

The newbuild has a length of 205 metres, a beam of 23.5 metres, and 189 staterooms that can house 378 guests.

New river tour boats enter service in China

Photo: CCS

Chinese shipbuilder Hunan Xiangchuan Heavy Industry has delivered a new aluminium sightseeing vessel to an unnamed local operator.

The CCS-classed Liuheng 1 has a length of 49.35 metres, a beam of 8.5 metres, and capacity for 335 passengers.

Two 1,398 kW diesel engines deliver a speed of 17 knots.

Photo: CCS

Also recently delivered in China is Liangjiang Qingchuan, a 750-passenger catamaran built by the Wuchang Shipbuilding Industry Group for Wuhan Liangjiang Cruise Ship Tourism Company.

The CCS-classed vessel has an LOA of 60 metres, a beam of 22 metres, a design draught of 2.46 metres, and a maximum speed of 11.8 knots.

The newbuild will be operated primarily in the rivers of the city of Wuhan in Hubei province.

Alaska tour operator selects New Zealand-designed catamaran

Photo: Teknicraft Design

Phillips Cruises and Tours of Alaska has placed an order for a new high-speed sightseeing vessel to be built by a shipyard in Bellingham, Washington.

The 84.5-foot (25.7-metre) vessel will be a semi-displacement, aluminium catamaran developed by Nic de Waal of Teknicraft Design in Auckland, New Zealand. It is scheduled for delivery by May  2024.

The vessel will be operated on daily sightseeing tours of Prince William Sound off Alaska’s south coast.

See all the other news, reviews and features of this month’s Marine Engines and Propulsion Systems Week right here.

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