VESSEL REVIEW | Blue Rotterdam – Netherlands’ Waterbus adds hybrid commuter ferry to fleet

VESSEL REVIEW | Blue Rotterdam – Netherlands’ Waterbus adds hybrid commuter ferry to fleet

Photo: Damen

Netherlands-based transport operator Waterbus has taken delivery of a new hybrid commuter catamaran ferry built by compatriot the Damen Shipyards Group.

Blue Rotterdam belongs to a series of ferries designed by Damen and Belgian firm KesselsGranger DesignWorks for operation in the Dordrecht-Rotterdam area. The vessel has a length of 28.6 metres, a beam of 7.5 metres, a draught of only 1.5 metres, and space for 75 passengers.

A lightweight, carbon-fibre design and hybrid propulsion system that also includes two 400kWh batteries and two fixed-pitch propellers ensure that emissions and noise are kept to an absolute minimum while delivering speeds of up to 21 knots. The vessel is also prepared for transition to full electric operations when the requisite technology becomes available in the future.

Photo: Damen

To enhance the onboard experience, the designers aimed to create a warm, open, and safe environment. This was achieved through the incorporation of large windows along the length of the vessel and in the ceiling, allowing ample light and providing a feeling of spaciousness. The seating has been carefully laid out to facilitate a sense of inclusion, particularly comforting during off-peak times when passengers can feel isolated.

A large space aft is suited for tourists from where they can observe the sights along the ferry’s route. For those using the ferry on their daily commute, comfortable working spaces are offered in the interior section along with storage for bicycles. The bicycle storage space also ensures quick and easy retrieval, allowing cyclists to disembark more efficiently.

Seating has also been laid out to accommodate groups of people. This includes a lounge bench seating area amidships. The bench features recesses to accommodate children’s pushchairs and prams as well as wheelchairs. Charging ports for mobile devices are also situated throughout the main cabin.

Damen said Blue Rotterdam is also one of the first ferries to feature tactile strips on the floor to help guide blind and partially sighted passengers. Mobility through the vessel is similarly aided by high-contrast floor markings and clearly delineated zones.

Photo: Damen

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

Blue Rotterdam
Type of vessel: Commuter ferry
Flag: Netherlands
Owner: Waterbus, Netherlands
Designers: Damen Shipyards Group, Netherlands; KesselsGranger DesignWorks, Belgium
Builder: Damen Shipyards Group, Netherlands
Hull construction material: Carbon-fibre
Length overall: 28.6 metres
Beam: 7.5 metres
Draught: 1.5 metres
Propulsion: 2 x fixed-pitch propellers
Maximum speed: 21 knots
Batteries: 2 x 400 kWh
Passengers: 75
Operational area: Rotterdam, Netherlands

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