VESSEL REVIEW | Sea Express II – SeaCat Ships’ new 29-metre Caribbean eco-ferry

Thai yard SeaCat Ships has just launched its brand new, 29-metre high-speed ferry at Ocean Marina Yacht Club in Pattaya.

This sleek new aluminium catamaran achieved over 30 knots during sea trials, and will operate in and around the United States- and British-flagged islands in the Caribbean for owner Aquatic Rentals. It is the first ferry of its type built in Thailand for US operations

The islands the ferry will be servicing were severely hit by Hurricane Irma in 2017, and with the rebuilding of the island comes the rebuilding and reinvention of the tourist industry. This vessel will allow its patrons fast and cost effective ferry service between the islands.

Aquatic Rentals had in the past purchased a second hand 24-metre ferry designed by SeaCat Ships and Sea Speed Designs director, Paul Birgan. Impressed with its performance and seeing a requirement for the Caribbean area, Aquatic Rentals contacted Paul for a new design. Aquatic wanted a vessel larger in size and capacity with the same performance as their existing vessel.

Built in accordance with Lloyds Register SSC Code for hull and also US Coast Guard, Sub Chapter K requirements, she is suitable for 149 passengers internationally and up to 300 passengers for domestic coastal services. In order to achieve speeds of over 30 knots, the ferry was powered by twin 1,230kW Baudouin V12 engines.

The structure is extremely robust for extended life, and the newly developed deep-vee hull includes a double bottom to meet IMO HSC raking damage criteria.

Sea Express II was designed with the environment in mind, with engine and exhaust systems up to IMO Tier 3 standard and United States EPA 4 compliant. The exhaust is fitted with an SCR system to ensure exhaust emissions are as low as possible. This is the first vessel fitted with this exhaust scrubber system for these particular engines. The vessel also has zero discharge to keep her eco-friendly.

Propulsion is via conventional prop/shaft, fixed pitch propellers and mini keels, which protect the props and give the vessel great tracking and sea keeping.

The lower deck has 195 economy-style seats from Seaborn plus sunken lounge seating in the fore-deck area. The upper deck has 36 leather VIP business class seats inside and 58 all weather seats outside. The main cabin also includes a small servery.

The flooring is a mixture of teak style walkways with lush carpet under the seats. The walls and ceilings are constructed from powder coated, honeycomb panels, with a painted surface for a nice clean look, easy maintenance and extended longevity.

The cabins are fully air-conditioned with built in redundancy, to ensure operation even if there is a unit failure. She has a total of four toilets, three of which are on the lower deck (one larger, wheel chair accessible toilet) and one located on the upper deck.

The helm features 360-degree vision for the captain as well as three additional control stations for docking purposes (port, starboard and aft). The main control station features the latest touch screen electronic navigation systems as well as monitoring and control systems, CCTV, music/TV, wifi and intercom systems.

The navigation system used on board is primarily based around a Simrad NSO system and incorporates the new Halo radar with Velocity Track doppler radar software, which changes the colour of approaching and diverging radar targets.

The electronics package was carefully designed to ensure that there was full redundancy and allows easy configuration and flexibility to suit different masters. All navigation equipment and controls have been located in ergonomic positions to allow for easy operation.

The audio visual system was custom designed by Ultimate Marine Power and consists of full CCTV surveillance, as well as a MediaCAT, a cloud based passenger information and digital signage system, and KVH satellite TV antenna.

Sea Express II
Type of vessel:Passenger ferry/tourist boat
Home port:Charlotte Amalie, US Virgin Islands
In survey to:USCG K; Lloyds Register
Owner:Aquatic Rentals
Designer:Sea Speed Design Co., Australia
Builder:Sea Cat Ships, Thailand
CAD Software:Maxsurf
Length overall:28.89 metres
Length rule:28.98 metres
Length waterline:27.56 metres
Beam:9.18 metres
Depth:2.80 metres
Draught:1.95 metres
Displacement:80 tonnes
Main engines:2 x Baudouin 12M26.3 Tier 3, each 1,230kW @2,300 rpm
Gearboxes:2 x ZF 3550A, 2:1 ratio
Propulsion:2 x FPP
Generators:2 x Zenith, each 60 kVA
Steering system:Rudder, electric hydraulic
Cruising speed:27-28 knots
Maximum speed:30+ knots
Range:760nm @ 20 knots
Radios:Sailor HF & VHF
GMDSS:Sailor 6110
Alarm system:Fire Boy
Depth sounder:Model f 3,000W
Sound system:Fusion
Other electronics:CCTV & DVR
Electrics installed by:Palm Electrical
Tank gauges:M2I
Interior fitout/furnishings:Honeycomb walls and ceiling
Flooring/deck surface finishes:Teak style/carpet, non-skid
Capstan/windlass:Lewmar V8
Anchors:128kg SHHP
Liferafts:2 x 150-pax RFD
Sullage capacity:2 x 500 litres
Fuel capacity:2 x 4,000 litres
Fuel consumption:

480 litres/hr @ 28 knots;

370 litres/hr @ 25 knots;

265 litres/hr @ 20 knots

Freshwater capacity:1,000 litres

149 (international);

300 (domestic)

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