VESSEL REVIEW | Lady D & Lady A – Mexico’s Ultramar adds high-spec ferry pair to fleet


Built in the UK to an Incat Crowther design, a pair of 37-metre passenger ferries, Lady D and Lady A, have been delivered to Mexico’s largest operator Ultramar.

The ferries are operating between Cancun and Isla Mujeres primarily, however they are also capable of supporting the Playa del Carmen to Cozumel route which requires vessels to have a much higher free board due to sea conditions and specific docking restrictions.

With capacity for 459 passengers, the vessels have been built to a very high quality, notably higher than a regular commuter ferry. The vessels feature Ultramar’s signature high-tech fitout with advanced entertainment systems and advanced LED lighting. Whilst giving the operator a distinct point of difference in the market, the fitout brought weight control to the fore.

Incat Crowther worked closely with the builder to balance the operator’s desires with the fitout requirements in a way that did not excessively impact the vessel’s performance, with the final product being delivered below the predicted weight.

The weight savings were achieved by investigating each of the thousand pieces of equipment used in the construction and sourcing the lightest, most efficient parts and materials.

The vessels take a two-and-a-half deck configuration with a half-height wheelhouse giving excellent forward visibility and contributing to the trademark sleek appearance of Ultramar’s fleet.

The main deck features three pairs of boarding ramps; two pairs aft and a pair forward. The aft-most pair is dedicated to cargo movements, leading straight to the aft cargo area. Forward of this, a passenger ramp feeds straight to the main passenger cabin as well as to the stairs to the upper deck.

Both vessels have the capacity to accommodate 459 passengers over three decks, with bright airy mid-deck seats, accessed from a central staircase in the main cabin and two external staircases leading to a top deck with seating for 122 passengers.

The main deck cabin seats 165 passengers and has two wheelchair spaces. A bar/kiosk is fitted amidships, adjacent to an interior stair to the mid deck. A pair of doors forward link the forward-most boarding ramps to the cabin, as well as providing access to the foredeck, with 32 seats.

The mid deck features a business class cabin for 24 passengers. Aft of this, the external deck features a stage, where artists perform on return journeys. The aft exterior deck seats 116 passengers.

The vessel’s platform was optimised early in the design process for efficient operation with twin MTU 12V4000 M63 main engines. This engine package delivers excellent efficiency whilst minimising wear and tear and extending engine maintenance intervals.

Because the focus has been on efficiency, the engines in these vessels are capable of achieving their service speed at lower MCR, something that Ultramar specified.

Gearboxes are two ZF 7600s, with propulsion being supplied by two fixed pitch propellers. Both vessels also feature new curved hydrodynamically-designed rudders.

The vessel comfortably achieved a trials speed of 31 knots.

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

Lady D & Lady A
Type of vessel:Ferry
Owner:Ultramar, Mexico
Builder:Wight Shipyard, UK
Designer:Incat Crowther, Australia
Construction material:Aluminium
Length overall:37.00 metres
Length waterline:36.70 metres
Beam:8.75 metres
Depth:3.3 metres
Draught:1.5 metres
Main engines:2 x MTU 12V4000 M63, each 1,500 kW @1,800 rpm
Gearboxes:2 x ZF 5055, 2.731:1
Propulsion:2 x fixed pitch propellers
Gensets:2 x Kohler 65EOZDJ
Cruising speed:24 knots @75 per cent MCR
Maximum speed:31 knots
Fuel oil (day tanks):4,000 litres
Fuel oil (main tanks):8,000 litres
Fresh water:1,000 litres
Sullage:1,000 litres

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