VESSEL REVIEW | WattnExpress – Fast inter-island ferries for German North Sea operator

VESSEL REVIEW | WattnExpress – Fast inter-island ferries for German North Sea operator

WattnExpress (Photo: van Lessen)

German shipping company Ems Maritime Offshore recently took delivery of three new fast ferries in a series for operation between some of Germany’s island communities in the North Sea.

WattnExpress, Inselexpress I, and Watt Sprinter will service three busy routes with up to eight departures each day between the North Frisian Islands and Neuharlingersiel, located on the north coast of Germany’s mainland. The ferries have been tailored to the unique local conditions in the intertidal Wadden Sea zone that separates the German mainland from the North Frisian Islands and the North Sea.

Each vessel has all-aluminium construction, an LOA 19.7 metres, a beam of 5.4 metres, and a draught of less than 0.7 metre even at full load, making the ferries’ operation independent of tidal conditions, which can reach very low levels.

WattnExpress (Photo: by Helmut Scheffler)

The IMO Tier III-compliant ferries can each transport up to 54 passengers at a maximum speed of 19 knots and a service speed of 17 knots thanks to two Volvo D8-MH R2 diesel engines with a total installed power of 626 kW at 2,200 rpm driving Hamilton HTX30 waterjets. The engines are fitted with exhaust gas aftertreatment systems to help reduce NOx emissions. The vessels’ design will also permit the installation of electric motors as alternative propulsion systems in the future once lightweight batteries become commercially available.

Cummins Onan generators supply electrical power for the onboard electronics, which include a radar and other equipment supplied by Simrad.

The vessels have also been customised to cater to the local community with space for wheelchair access and large indoor and outdoor luggage storage areas on the main deck. Should evacuation become necessary, the occupants on each ferry have access to liferafts from Viking Life-Saving Equipment.

WattnExpress (Photo: Saarelainen)

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

WattnExpress, Inselexpress I & Watt Sprinter
Type of vessel: Commuter ferries
Flag: Germany
Owner: Ems Maritime Offshore, Germany
Hull construction material: Aluminium
Superstructure construction material: Aluminium
Deck construction material: Aluminium
Length overall: 19.7 metres
Length waterline: 17.5 metres
Beam: 5.4 metres
Draught: 0.7 metre
Main engines: 2 x Volvo D8-MH R2, each 313 kW at 2,200 rpm
Propulsion: 2 x Hamilton HTX30 waterjets
Generators: Cummins Onan
Maximum speed: 19 knots
Cruising speed: 17 knots
Radar: Simrad
Other electronics: Simrad
Liferafts: Viking Life-Saving Equipment
Type of fuel: Diesel
Fuel capacity: 1,500 litres
Freshwater capacity: 250 litres
Blackwater capacity: 250 litres
Crew: 3
Passengers: 54
Operational area: North Sea, Germany

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