VESSEL REVIEW | Aero Highspeed 1 – Greece’s Attica Group deploys catamaran ferry trio for Saronic Gulf sailings

PASSENGER VESSEL WEEK
Photo: Brødrene Aa

Greek operator the Attica Group has expended its fleet of fast catamaran vessels with the acquisition of three newbuild ferries in a series built by Norwegian shipyard Brodrene Aa.

Aero Highspeed 1, Aero Highspeed 2, and Aero Highspeed 3 were ordered by Attica for deployment by its Hellenic Seaways and Superfast Ferries sub-brands in the waters of the Saronic Gulf, through which around three million passengers transit every year. The catamarans commenced operational sailings in September 2022, and their introduction made them the first newbuild passenger vessels to enter service on Greece’s coastal routes since 2002.

Photo: Brødrene Aa

The ferries are the first examples of a new Brødrene Aa design that features a lightweight carbon fibre composite construction to contribute to a reduction in both fuel consumption and air emissions. The long slender hull is optimised to handle increased loads while the flat surfaced roof area may accommodate installation of solar panels if desired.

The catamarans each have an LOA of 36 metres, a beam of 9.7 metres, a GRT of 347.68 tonnes, and capacity for 150 passengers. The spacious passenger accommodation area has large windows to provide an excellent view and ample natural light overhead luggage bins. The interiors are configured to ensure low noise and vibrations and to facilitate adequate ventilation.

There are also specially designated luggage areas and accessibility features for accommodating passengers with reduced mobility. Other onboard facilities include toilets, spaces for bicycles, and air-conditioned kennels for pets.

Photo: Brødrene Aa

Power for each ferry is provided by two Caterpillar C32 engines that each produce 1,081 kW at 2,300 rpm and drive Kongsberg KaMeWa S56-4 waterjets. Even when at their top speed of 32.2 knots, the vessels’ sailings are made more comfortable thanks to upgraded ride control systems.

Brødrene Aa said the new Attica ferries’ design is approximately 10 per cent more energy efficient compared to conventional fast ferry designs with two decks and the same passenger capacity. This is achieved by introducing a low wind signature/cross-section design, paired with longer hulls and a lightweight, one-deck superstructure.

Along with the protected bow, these features make the new ferries well-suited for sailing in rough weather conditions. The slender hull is equipped with spray rails and extra buoyancy volumes in the bow section. The builder said that adverse weather tests proved these features are capable of handling large waves in a highly efficient and comfortable way.

Photo: Brødrene Aa

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Aero Highspeed 1, Aero Highspeed 2 & Aero Highspeed 3
SPECIFICATIONS
Type of vessel:Ferries
Flag:Greece
Owner:Attica Group, Greece
Operator:Hellenic Seaways, Greece
Builder:Brødrene Aa, Norway
Hull construction material:Carbon fibre composite
Length overall:36 metres
Beam:9.7 metres
Gross tonnage:347
Main engines:2 x Caterpillar C32, each 1,081 kW at 2,300 rpm
Propulsion:2 x Kongsberg KaMeWa S56-4 waterjets
Maximum speed:32.2 knots
Accommodation:Toilets; pet kennels
Passengers:150
Operational area:Saronic Gulf, Greece

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