With its ever-increasing tourist volume, Bruny Island, located south of Hobart in Tasmania, was in urgent need of a more modern and capacious ferry service.
The substantial and experienced Australian ferry owner SeaLink Travel Group successfully tendered for the project, and Incat Crowther was commissioned to design the two new aluminium vessels. Nairana is the first.
Previous Bruny ferries had been steel-hulled and slow so aluminium catamarans were specified for reasons of speed, economy and durability.
They also had to effect very rapid turn-arounds and this led to the selection of four Schottel rudder/propeller units for propulsion. They are a very new feature on aluminium catamaran ferries and have enabled this fine new ferry to do all that was asked of it and more.
“We consider Nairana special due to her being a catamaran combining a robust aluminium structure and double-ended functionality,” Incat Crowther told Baird Maritime.
The use of aluminium for durability as opposed to traditional steel for hulls was one of the innovative solutions implemented by Incat Crowther in its newbuilding projects in 2020. Other such solutions included options for propulsion packages such as hybrid arrangements and alternative fuel including electricity – a fortuitous decision in light of the company’s having recognised that global emissions regulations are becoming more restrictive.
Even with the widespread shutdown of passenger vessel operations last year caused by Covid-19, Incat Crowther said it is continuing to see demand growing in this market and in others, as evidenced by the growing number of vessel newbuildings incorporating hybrid and electric propulsion. The company, however, believes the market will still place a premium on greater efficiency and capability regardless of the degree of innovation being achieved by any new technology.
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