VESSEL REVIEW | Askea – Hybrid coastal shuttle and sightseeing ferry for Western France’s Arcachon Bay

Photo: ODC Marine

ODC Marine recently delivered a new passenger vessel to Compagnie Maritime Seaway (CMS), an operator based in Western France.

Designed by naval architects Mer et Design, the 30-tonne, 19.89- by 4.8-metre Askea will be operated as a shuttle ferry as well as a boat for private excursions off the coast. Space is available for up to 98 passengers in addition to the crew of two.

Askea is a variant of our hybrid passenger vessel design that boasts enhanced passenger comfort, low environmental impact, and reduced operational costs,” ODC Marine told Baird Maritime. “The vessel also benefits from new developments, including a new generation of propulsion batteries for increased range and reduced charging time, a foldable aft platform to carry bicycles, and modular deck arrangements with adjustable seats and tables to accommodate passengers with limited mobility.”

The vessel’s operational area encompasses Arcachon Bay, a famed tourist destination just off France’s western coast. Francois Lambert, president of local boat operators’ organisation Union des Bateliers Arcachonnais (UBA), had wanted a vessel that combined passenger-carrying capability with reduced noise and vibrations to minimise environmental impact. ODC Marine said the installation of the foldable bicycle loading platform was also deliberate, as Mr Lambert wished to encourage more people to use bicycles as a means of getting around.

“During the build process, we realised the viability of the foldable aft platform. It will thus become an optional feature on our future newbuilding projects.”

The only major issue encountered during the construction of the vessel lay in the financing aspect, as ODC Marine said the Covid-19 pandemic forced banks to operate at reduced capacity, making them hesitant to support newbuilding projects. Nonetheless, local bank Banque Populaire provided the necessary support.

Askea was designed to be capable of reaching a maximum speed of 20 knots and a cruising speed of 17 knots. The hybrid propulsion includes an all-electric mode that will enable zero-emission sailings for more than two hours at six knots. This navigation mode will be utilised when navigating in harbours and near protected areas.

Hybrid propulsion system (Photo: ODC Marine)

The Bureau Veritas-compliant hybrid propulsion setup includes two Cummins QSL9 main diesel engines that each produce 335 kW at 2,100 rpm. The engines drive a ZF arrangement that includes four-bladed S-class propellers connected to gearboxes. The electric propulsion meanwhile consists of two 80kW brushless motors powered by 88kWh lithium-iron phosphate batteries.

“The batteries feature 60 per cent improved energy density and a charging time of only four hours,” ODC Marine told Baird Maritime.

A 10kW bow thruster from Side Power provides added manoeuvrability for navigating in more restrictive waters such as those in harbours. Steering is done with the aid of an electro-hydraulic system from Lecomble and Schmitt.

Wheelhouse (Photo: ODC Marine)

Askea’s navigation electronics include a Simrad radar and an Airmar depth sensor. Monitoring of these and all other systems including those related to propulsion is done from the helm station with the aid of a tailor-made system supplied by Marinelec Technologies.

The interior spaces meanwhile have Flexiteek synthetic teak decking, aluminium seats, and aluminium honeycomb panel tables. There are two toilets, including one designed for use by individuals with limited mobility. Mäder water-borne low environmental impact paint was meanwhile used for the exteriors.

A Survitec liferaft is also available for when evacuation of the vessel becomes necessary.

Main cabin (Photo: ODC Marine)

Click here to read other news stories, features, opinion articles, and vessel reviews as part of this month’s Passenger Vessel Week.

Type of vessel:Shuttle and sightseeing vessel
Classification:French Rules 223b
Port of registry:Arcachon, France
Owner:Union des Bateliers Arcachonnais, France
Operator:Compagnie Maritime Seaway, France
Vessel delivery company:CMA CGM, France
Designer:Mer et Design, France
Builder:ODC Marine, China
Hull construction material:Aluminium
Superstructure construction material:Aluminium
Deck construction material:Aluminium
Plate cutting:Plasma
Length overall:19.89 metres
Length waterline:17.99 metres
Beam:4.8 metres
Displacement:30 tonnes
Net tonnage:22
Main engines:2 x Cummins QSL9-M, each 335 kW at 2,100 rpm
Gearboxes:2 x ZF 325-1A
Propulsion:2 x ZF S-Class propellers
Side thruster:Side Power, 10 kW
Steering system:Lecomble and Schmitt electro-hydraulic
Maximum speed:20 knots
Cruising speed:17 knots
Batteries:Lithium-iron phosphate, 88 kWh
Radar:Simrad BR3G
Depth sounder:Airmar SS60
GPS:Simrad NSS9 evo3
Monitoring system:Marinelec Technologies
Windlass:Quick, 2,300 W
Floor/deck surface finishes:Flexiteek 2G
Type of fuel:Diesel
Fuel capacity:2,300 litres
Fuel consumption:110 litres per hour at 17 knots
Freshwater capacity:150 litres
Sewage/blackwater capacity:150 litres
Operational area:Arcachon Bay, France

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