VESSEL REVIEW | Amiral – French Alps lake cruising gets a stylish upgrade with new eco-ferry


La Compagnie des Bateaux du Lac d’Annecy is a prestigious vessel operator offering high-end experiences to tourists and locals on Annecy Lake in the French Alps. It owns a fleet of five vessels, the most famous one being Libellule, a 300-passenger restaurant vessel.

In order to develop and modernise its fleet, the owner commissioned French-run, Dalian, China-based boat builder ODC Marine to work on a new vessel, with three primary goals: to fit in with the design of the existing fleet; to offer an improved passenger experience; and be a world-leader in terms of environmental friendliness.

“This vessel is without doubt one of the lowest environmental impact vessels ever built,” ODC Marine told Baird Maritime. “A lot of effort has been made to use all solutions available on the market, and the specific know-how of the builder, taking into consideration environmental impacts during building, during operation and at life’s end, with high recyclability.”

ODC said the main challenge in building the boat was the limitation that it had to be delivered to Annecy Lake by truck. In order to meet this challenge, a few parts of Amiral are removable in order to not exceed the 4.8-metre height limit on the roads.

“Another challenge was to integrate the catalytic converter,” added ODC. “It’s the very first time such a system has been installed in France on a passenger boat. The limited space in this 20-metre vessel’s engine room was the very minimum necessary for the full system.”

Amiral features an aluminium hull and aluminium honeycomb decoration panelling to reduce weight, allowing for lower propulsive power and less maintenance, while remaining durable and recyclable. The design of the hull was also revised to reduce consumption.

The optimised deck arrangement allows Amiral to fit 150 passengers on two decks within dimensions of just 20 by 5.5 metres.

The propulsion system is hybrid parallel, comprising two diesel engines and two electric motors. This allows for zero emissions when speed is kept under 10 kilometres per hour, and uses recyclable lithium batteries.

The main engines are a pair of Volvo Penta D13 six-cylinder, 12.78-litre models delivering 400 hp (300 kW) at 1,800 rpm. The propellers and shafts are from ZF Taiwan, and the gearboxes are ZF 360A models. The setup is very heavy duty, and power has been limited to two by 400 horsepower due to the speed limit on the lake of 25 kilometres per hour.

A catalytic converter supplied by Volvo Penta has also been installed. It’s the first system developed by Volvo Penta and the first one installed in France. It is not yet compulsory, and its installation was a decision by the owner to reduce environment impact. The catalytic converter aims to reduce NOx emissions by at least a factor of four. The engines will use GTL instead of diesel.

The propulsion system is also parallel hybrid with two 70kWh lithium batteries allowing more than two hours of sailing between charges and having a very low noise impact around the boat. The electric motors have aluminium bodies, and are water-cooled, brushless and high yield.

Amiral is equipped with a connected monitoring system designed to increase safety, provide an overview of the vessel’s operations, and to make it possible to optimise operation based on the outputted data.

The monitoring system scope includes bilge monitoring, navigation lights, service and battery propulsion system monitoring (both diesel and hybrid pack), tank monitoring (diesel, fresh and black water), diesel engine monitoring, GPS monitoring, insulation monitoring, and vertical structure acceleration monitoring.

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Innovative and unique on this size of boat, the system was developed with the French supplier Marinelec.

Flexiteek 2G decking is installed throughout the vessel, bringing a high-end feel to the experience that is easy to clean and maintain and improves soundproofing. Mader supplied environmentally friendly paint.

See all the other content from this month’s Naval Architecture Week right here, including reviews, features, opinions and news.

Type of vessel: Passenger ferry
Classification: Drawing approval + Construction survey + European Lake Approval
Port of registry: Annecy Lake (France)
Flag: French
Owner: La Compagnie des Bateaux du Lac d’Annecy, France
Operator La Compagnie des Bateaux du Lac d’Annecy, France
Designer: Eric Jean
Builder: ODC Marine, China
Construction material: Aluminium
Plate cutting: CNC plasma cutting
Length overall: 21.20 metres
Length waterline: 19.6 metres
Beam: 5.48 metres
Draught: 1.4 metres (loaded)
Displacement: 45 tonnes (full load)
Main engines: 2 x Volvo D13MH-400HE, each 400 hp (300 kW) at ,1800 rpm
Electric motors: 2 x Kolektor eletric motors, each 20 kW
Gearboxes: 2 x ZF360A
Propulsion: 2 x ZF, 4-blade Class S
Generator: Onan 11 kVA
Side thruster: Quick bow thruster
Steering system: LS
Maximum speed: 13.5 knots
Cruising speed: 13.5 knots
Batteries: Optima
Hydraulic equipment: LS
Radar: Simrad
Depth sounder: Airmar
Radio: Simrad
GPS: Simrad
Plotters: Simrad
Audio video system: Fusion
Other electronics: Marinelec connected monitoring system
Alarm system: Marinelec
Paints/coatings: Mader waterborne painting cycle
Lighting: LED
Floor/deck surface finishes: Fleexiteel 2G
Interior designer: ODC Marine
Interior fitout/furnishings: ODC Marine
Safety equipment: Lalizas
Type of propulsion energy: Gas to liquid diesel, electricity
Fuel and electric power capacity: 2 x 1,500 litres; 2 x 70 kWh
Freshwater capacity: 200L
Sewage/blackwater capacity: 600L
Passengers: 150

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